Of all the positives to come out of last night's dominating win over the National League West-leading Giants - and there were many to choose from - the thing that Davey Johnson was most pleased with was the performance of his second baseman.
Danny Espinosa went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI last night, with all three hits coming from the left side, a troublesome side of the plate for Espinosa this season.
"I was really pleased to see Espinosa," Johnson said last night. "He's been swinging the bat a lot better from the left side over the last two, three weeks. Hasn't got much for it, but he's been looking good, he's been swinging good. And today, to see him get three hits hitting left-handed, to me, that was the biggest thing that happened in this ballgame.
"We all know how capable he is. Seeing him do that, to me, that was by far the most exciting thing for me to see in the game today."
Over the Nationals' last 20 games, Espinosa has gotten 51 plate appearances while batting left-handed. In that time, his batting average from the left side has risen 13 points and his OPS has jumped 23 points.
Espinosa's overall slash line from the left side (.201/.270/.311) still isn't where he'd like it to be, but he's clearly making progress from the left side of the plate.
"I feel good," Espinosa said. "I've been feeling good for a little while now, so I'm happy it happened."
Espinosa got off to an incredibly slow start hitting left-handed, a start which left him pretty frustrated three weeks ago, when he discussed the dramatic difference between his performance from the right side and the left side.
Since then, his numbers have bumped up a bit, but his overall feel at the plate while hitting lefty has really improved.
That said, Espinosa wasn't willing to bask in his left-handed success after last night's game.
"I'm happier we won the game," he said. "It means more to me that we won the game and we're going in tomorrow to the early game looking to take the series. I'm definitely more excited about that."