Two games into the 2011 season, Jayson Werth is showing he's got the wares to be a terrific No. 2 hitter. He takes pitches, can turn a bad ball into a base hit and runs the bases with calculated aggression. On a 1-2 pitch from Tommy Hanson in the first inning, Werth dug out a low slider and turned a single into a double, before tagging up and going to third on Ryan Zimmerman's flyout to right.
But for this plan to work, somebody's got to drive Werth in. And for the second straight game, he got to third in the first inning, only to get stuck there.
Werth's double went to waste in the first, as Adam LaRoche grounded out to the pitcher with two outs to end the inning. The Nationals and Braves are scoreless in the bottom of the second.
As we've discussed a few times, Werth should probably be hitting lower in the Nationals' lineup, and could wind up there if the team finds a hitter (probably Danny Espinosa) who can move up in the order. In a perfect world, he'd probably be a fantastic No. 2 hitter with a better group of run producers below him - like he had in Philadelphia. But the current configuration puts much more weight on LaRoche and Michael Morse, who so far are 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position.
The Braves threatened in the second inning, but Espinosa just saved a run with a nice diving stop at second base, and then stopped an easy grounder to strand runners at second and third.