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Escobar, Moore power Nats’ offense

Sep 21, 2015, 6:00 AM EDT

Photo by USA Today

When a team scores 13 runs in a game, there are usually plenty of contributors, and that was the case for the Nationals in their win over the Marlins on Sunday afternoon. But two players in particular – Yunel Escobar and Tyler Moore, who combined for seven RBI – stood out above all.

Escobar recorded his fourth four-hit game of the season on Sunday. It was his 13th game with three hits or more in 130 total games. That means he’s had three hits or more in 10 percent of the games he’s played this season.

This performance raised his season batting average from .319 to .324, good for fourth in the National League. Bryce Harper remains in first at .343, but Escobar is not far behind.

Escobar’s biggest hit was a bases-clearing double in the sixth inning. He powered a line drive into the gap in right-center field to score Trea Turner, Stephen Strasburg and Michael Taylor.

“His secret to success is the ball hit to right-center field,” manager Matt Williams said. “When he’s going well, that’s what he does. Got a couple of them back through the middle today. Just a really good game. But for him, the ball to right-center is indicative of him seeing the ball well and staying on it.”

This is by some measures the best season of Escobar’s nine-year MLB career. It’s not only coming at the age of 32, but also in his first season with the Nats, who traded for him this past winter.

“He’s not thinking too much about numbers or looking at his stats,” Escobar said through a translator. “He’s just going out there, playing the game and having fun and leaves everything up to God. Whatever falls, it’s been fortunate that things have been going well for him.”

Escobar continued to explain how he is in a good state mentally and that, he believes, comes from a strong winter of training.

“He’s playing with a clean mind. He prepared himself real well this offseason, playing real relaxed. He said that’s why it’s leading to him having a good year,” translator Octavio Martinez relayed from Escobar.

For Moore, the credit goes in part to an increase in playing time. Moore got starts on back-to-back days this weekend and homered in both games. His home run on Sunday as a three-run bomb to left field off Marlins lefty Justin Nicolino.

Before Saturday, Moore hadn’t homered in a game since June 12, a span of 47 appearances. Him getting regular playing time surely hasn’t hurt.

“The more he plays, the more rhythm he gets,” Williams said.

“It feels good. Just to come in and play and be out there with my teammates,” Moore added. “It was a fun, good atmosphere out there and two good wins for us.”

Moore’s three appearances prior to Saturday were either as a defensive replacement, pinch-hitter or pinch-runner. He was happy to make a larger contribution this weekend.

“Any time you get that opportunity, it’s fun to get a couple of knocks or drive a guy in or do something small to help us out,” he said.

  1. TimDz - Sep 21, 2015 at 7:24 AM

    I’d like to see Moore get the starts at first base for the rest of the year and keep Robinson on the bench as a late inning pinch hitter.

    • natsjackinfl - Sep 21, 2015 at 7:57 AM

      And I would prefer Williams stick to his platoon with Moore starting against lefthanders and Robinson starting against righthanders.

      Seemed to work perfectly this weekend.

      • alexva6 - Sep 21, 2015 at 8:07 AM

        +1

        I think these two have value as a bench pair, limited defensive abilities not withstanding.

  2. ijncricket - Sep 21, 2015 at 7:24 AM

    The story for me yesterday was seeing so many exciting young players who can contribute to the future Nats. It has gotten me out of my funk of the last two weeks.Trea Turner, Tyler Moore, Michael Taylor, Joe Ross, Pedro Severino. The last game on my plan is Tuesday night. Still plenty to look at, even if the path to the post-season is awfully steep.

  3. Section 222 - Sep 21, 2015 at 9:14 AM

    I question this idea that “regular playing time” helped TyMo this weekend. Maybe getting more than one AB in a game. But he hit a home run on Saturday, after having just one AB since Sept. 13. How’d he do that without regular playing time? And he started three games in a row from Sept. 11-13 and was 3 for 11 with no extra base hits, and three games in a row from July 10-12 and was 3 for 12. In between his last homer on June 12 and this weekend, he started no less than 19 games. How come “regular playing time” didn’t help him in any of those games?

    TyMo is a great guy and I’m always happy when he plays well. But this idea that he’d be great if only he got “regular ABs” is a pipedream that got old at least two years ago. He’s a nice bat off the bench, and I wish MW had used him a little more this year, but let’s not get too excited. Plus, he’s out of options and the likelihood of his remaining on the team next year seems small unless Zim’s injury woes continue.

    • TimDz - Sep 21, 2015 at 9:26 AM

      I think your last sentence probably gives TyMo a pretty good shot at making the team next year…

      • therealjohnc - Sep 21, 2015 at 12:17 PM

        CRob seems to have largely nailed down the backup 1b spot.

      • Section 222 - Sep 21, 2015 at 1:28 PM

        I tend to agree with trjc. Most teams don’t carry two backup 1Bs. Since both can kinda play outfield, I suppose that gives them a shot at both sticking, especially since the decaying but free corpse of Dan Uggla won’t be around. But I wouldn’t count on it. The string may have finally played out for good ol’ TyMo.

      • letswin3 - Sep 21, 2015 at 5:42 PM

        I predict that a team who can play Moore every day will come to the Nat’s in the offseason to propose a trade. And if that trade can be leveraged (package that player with someone else) to include a decent package, maybe we can get a catcher who can field outfield throws to the plate and hit more than just a little.

  4. Doc - Sep 21, 2015 at 10:51 AM

    Loved seeing the contributions of so many players yesterday. Loved it that the Mets were losing 11-1 when I shut it down in the 8th.

    Now all we need for next year is a bullpen! C’mon down Aroldis Chapman!

  5. langleyclub - Sep 21, 2015 at 11:15 AM

    From the world of the hard to believe (and perhaps I am unable to discern MLB sortable stats), but it appears that the Nats are now 1st in the NL in runs scored this year. Yes, no NL team has score more runs than the Washington Nationals.

    Pretty hard to believe given the loss of core players (Span, Ryan Zimmerman, Rendon and Werth) for large chunks of the season. Pretty hard to believe given the ball park is considered either neutral or pitcher friendly. Pretty hard to believe given that the Nats look to be out of the playoffs.

    • Doc - Sep 21, 2015 at 11:33 AM

      Darn tootin langley’ that’s impressive in so many ways!

    • adcwonk - Sep 21, 2015 at 12:46 PM

      but, but, but, Rick Schu!

      • Doc - Sep 21, 2015 at 1:04 PM

        If the Schu fits, wear it!

        Players love him. He taught Esco a few things about hitting, and look at the results!

    • Section 222 - Sep 21, 2015 at 1:24 PM

      Unfortunately for the Nats, when you beat a team 13-3, it only counts as one win. And whether you lose 10-2 or 3-2, it’s a loss. Apparently, the Nats were good at scoring runs this year. Not so good at winning games.

    • sec112 - Sep 21, 2015 at 2:42 PM

      If you knew before the season that the Nats would lead the league in runs scored, how many wins would you have expected them to have, given the “historically outstanding starting rotation”. I’d say somewhere in the 103 range.

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