Earlier this season I was talking to a writer of a struggling opposing team and I asked him why they were losing. He said it was because they were not being patient at the plate. They were going after the first pitch. They weren’t taxing the pitcher. They were going for bad pitches and innings were short and uneventful.
While watching the Nationals during this current win streak, you can see one of the reasons the team is playing well. They are waiting for their pitch and fighting through borderline pitches to get through each at-bat. They are valuing each plate appearance.
Laynce Nix takes 11 pitches before inducing a bases-loaded go-ahead walk. Danny Espinosa works the count to 2-2 before cranking a solo homer. Ivan Rodriguez waits out bad pitch after bad pitch and then laces an RBI double that leads to the sixth run Wednesday.
Patience at the plate has started and extended big rallies for the Nationals against the Cardinals.
“That is what we got to be,” Rodriguez said. “We got to work the pitchers. (We need to) make the pitchers throw some pitches to us and work the count. There will always be a pitch that you can handle and be able to hit good. I haven’t played in a while, so to come back and stay with my approach and be aggressive (was important). I was very pleased with my game (Wednesday).”
Rodriguez said the offense can keep this up because they have the right focus in the batter’s box and he has seen the results last week and a half.
“We are going to be fine,” Rodriguez said. “We got to keep playing. To be able to come back yesterday and beat those guys with that lineup and the pitching staff that they have and (Wednesday), it means a lot. (We need to) work the pitcher and make sure you take very good at-bats and good things are going to happen.”
Michael Morse, who crushed two home runs in the 10-0 win, said another reason for his and the team’s recent success is they are not looking past the next at-bat.
“We are just going out there and playing that game, that day,” Morse said. “There is no thinking about what we did in the past. There is no thinking about what is coming ahead. We are going out there and trying to win that game, that day. That is what you got to do. We are a good team and we know it. It is starting to come together.”