Young stars blend well with veterans, helping Nationals succeed

Twenty-five-year-old Tyler Moore started it all with a solo homer.

Twenty-three-year-old Steve Lombardozzi added a huge insurance run with a RBI double.

Nineteen-year-old Bryce Harper helped to complete a comeback with a late RBI triple.

This pattern is not unusual for the Nationals this season.

Moore is in his first season in the bigs, of course, but the young guns have been the perfect complement to players that have been in the majors for a while, and it has added up to a special club.

“I think the key is our veteran guys because they are so cool,” Moore said. “It is kind of like we mesh all together. They make it comfortable on us to just go out and perform so that has been great.”

Harper believes guys like Adam LaRoche, Ryan Zimmerman, Chad Tracy, Mark DeRosa, Rick Ankiel, Michael Morse, Jayson Werth and others make it easier on the newcomers. That blend of experience and youthful energy has been a major factor in why the Nationals are where they are today.

These guys are talented. That is a given. But the chemistry isn’t forced.

“Having a lot of veteran presence, but a lot of young talent also, I think that really evens things out and lets us play,” Harper acknowledged. “We have a lot of fun. We have a lot of heart. We know that we are going to come back in the late innings and try to win the ball game. (Danny) Espinosa had a huge hit on that 2-2 count. To have him do that was a boost. We wanted to win that ball game after he did that.”

Manager Davey Johnson said the play of guys like Moore and Lombardozzi in Tuesday’s extra inning thriller over the Mets, 5-4, is not surprising to him. He has seen it all season.

“They have been doing it all year,” Johnson said. “The young guys have been really good. (Guys like) Tyler Moore and Steve Lombardozzi (are) a tribute to the organization. We got some really smart people out there, signing good athletes, good makeup. They have been doing it every year since I have been here, and there is more coming.”

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