Friday, April 26, 2013

Espinosa comes up big on 26th birthday


Photo by USA Today
By Michael Huberman
CSNwashington.com

With his team struggling to score runs, and he himself mired in an offensive slump, Nationals’ second baseman Danny Espinosa broke out in a big way on his 26th birthday Thursday, going 2-for-4 with a home run, double, and two RBI in the Nationals’ 8-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds. 

Manager Davey Johnson was certainly pleased with his second baseman’s birthday performance. 

“I was really happy for Espi to see him swing the bat good, and I guess he has to have his birthday every day or something,” Johnson said.  

The Nationals came into the game losers of four straight, and with his team badly needing a win, Espinosa was one of many Nationals who stood out offensively against Cincinnati.

Espinosa got the scoring started in the second inning when he doubled off the wall in right-center, giving the Nationals a 1-0 lead. Espinosa hit a ball to almost the exact same spot the day before that was caught, but sometimes you get the breaks when it’s your day. 

“Yeah I said it was because of my birthday it fell today,” he joked. “But it was nice to see to it fall in. ”

Then in the bottom of the fourth with the Nationals leading 4-0 and Adam LaRoche on second, Espinosa took Bronson Arroyo’s 2-2 sinker over the right field wall, and suddenly the rout was on. It was Espinosa’s second home run of the year, and his first since April 13 against the Atlanta Braves. 

After the game, Espinosa was asked if he’d ever had a game like that on his birthday.

“No, I don’t think so, maybe in college.” 

Espinosa had two singles last year when he turned 25, but never had a day quite like this. 

“I always feel like during the season I typically struggle on my birthday,” Espinosa said. “In the minors I was always hot in the first month and birthday would come around and I'd suck on a big 0-for-4.”

Espinosa’s performance came at a welcome time, as the second baseman entered the game in a major slump. He previously missed four games after injuring his right hand April 14 against Atlanta and was just 2-for-18 (.111) in the five games since his return. Despite his issues at the plate, Espinosa was focused on taking it one at-bat at a time.  

“I was just going up there and trying to have a good at-bat, and trying to get a pitch to hit.” 

The Nationals came into Thursday’s game having scored just four runs in their past four games, convincing Johnson to tweak his lineup for the second straight game. Espinosa was spared, however, remaining at second base as Johnson wanted to give him time to work through his slump.  

“Sometimes, it just takes time before the breaks start to fall your way. Certainly, I’ve not been down on him. He’s played outstanding defense. It was good to see him smiling in the ballgame, even after he made an out,” Johnson said. 

For Espinosa, a day off on his birthday from the game he loves would have been no gift. 

“I would rather play on my birthday than sit. He never said anything to me, so I was guessing I was going to play today,” he said. 

“I enjoy playing every single day, it’s such a fun game, I don’t want to ever sit, I enjoy playing too much.”

15 comments:

Doc said...

Atta boy, Danny!

We're with you kid!

P.S. Happy Birthday!!!!!!!!!!

A DC Wonk said...

Slightly off topic -- SI had a story about the game last night, and the angle was juxtaposing that with Rizzo's contract extension.

Money quote:

Gio Gonzalez, meanwhile, allowed just one hit and one run (on a Joey Votto solo shot) in eight innings, the 14th time in 37 starts with Washington that he’s allowed no more than one run. Rizzo traded four prospects to the A’s before last season to land Gonzalez, whom he immediately signed to an extension. Not every GM has the stomach to trade a bounty of prospects, especially for a player like Gonzalez who had only been a big leaguer for two seasons. All Gonzalez has done in the interim is be named an All-Star last year and finish third in the NL Cy Young voting.

Wow -- I had no idea: the 14th time in 37 starts with Washington that he’s allowed no more than one run.

EmDash said...

Sounds like an interesting article, DC Wonk, but Google isn't turning it up for me - do you have a link?

Eric said...

"Certainly, I’ve not been down on him. He’s played outstanding defense. ..."

Indeed. Glad Davey recognizes both sides of being a baseball player, even if 3/4 of Nats fans seem hyper-focused on offense...

JD said...

JMO but I think that Rendon will be better served returning to Harrisburg, playing every day, working on stuff without the pressure cooker that is major league baseball.

I think Lombo can man 3rd base for another week and we can use another power bat off the bench (Owings?). I think that when Ramos returns Solano goes back to Syracuse. I think he needs to show that he can produce enough offense to merit a full time job next year which should open up as Suzuki gets his next gig elsewhere.

Tcostant said...

I gound it, here is the link:

http://mlb.si.com/2013/04/26/gonzalez-harper-appropriately-star-on-night-nationals-extend-rizzo/

IKN8wxU2 said...

Not only is Danny great on defense, but he's better on offense than Lombardozzi, at least based on career stats. The last two games, Danny's hit the ball on the nose quite a few times. Wednesday, he had nothing to show for it, but last night his luck turned around.

A DC Wonk said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
hiramhover said...

Glad to see Danny get the dinger for his b'day.

His Ks are actually done so far this season (yes, small sample size, yada yada)--15% so far this season, vs. 26% career. And he's getting killed on BABIP--.180 this season, vs. .300 career.

The first will probably get worst, the second will surely get better.

Danny will be fine.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

JD said...
JMO but I think that Rendon will be better served returning to Harrisburg, playing every day, working on stuff without the pressure cooker that is major league baseball.


Agreed, my thoughts exactly. A couple days observing is fine but this kid needs to be playing every day be it in Washington or back in AA.

3on2out said...

This whirling dervish of comments moves on from topic to topic and from post to post but I would be remiss not giving a shout out to John C's most recent:

"In Peric's defense (phrases I never thought I'd type for $100, Alex)"

Funny!

peric said...

JMO but I think that Rendon will be better served returning to Harrisburg, playing every day, working on stuff without the pressure cooker that is major league baseball.

As Rizzo said: he has to be playing everyday somewhere. If its in the majors he is in the lineup at third base everyday. If its the minors at this point don't be surprised if he ends up in Syracuse as opposed to Harrisburg with the FO reassigning either Costanzo or Rivero to Harrisburg.

peric said...

a shout out to John C's most recent:

"In Peric's defense (phrases I never thought I'd type for $100, Alex)"


Yeah its a real shame I am often right about a lot of stuff isn't it?

peric said...

Espinosa isn't going anywhere as I've often stated time-and-time again. My only concern when it comes to him remains his injury to his rotator cuff.

peric said...

And Patrick? I never worried about Henry. Not sure why everyone else here had to? Especially given the number of meltdowns both Clippard and Storen have had and especially Storen.

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