Another four-hit day leaves Murphy hitting .406 for the season

CHICAGO - Perhaps back in the day, before they added the two giant video boards behind the famed bleachers at Wrigley Field, Daniel Murphy could have rested easy, knowing there was no chance of looking up while he stood at the plate here and seeing the numbers ".406" right next to his name.

After last year's ballpark renovations, though, it's pretty hard not to see it. So Murphy has to approach this just as he does everything else on the baseball field: staying focused on the game at hand, nothing else.

"You're just trying to play the game," he said. "I'm not concerned one way or the other. I don't pay attention too much to it, but I'm not going out of my way not to look at it."

Murphy-Swings-1000th-Gray-Sidebar.jpgMurphy may not be tracking his batting average on an inning-by-inning basis, but it's getting to the point where everyone else needs to. With yet another fantastic hitting display (4-for-4) during yesterday's 8-6 loss to the Cubs, Murphy raised his average to .406.

Sure, it's only May 7 and the odds of Murphy (or anyone) maintaining that batting average for another five months is awfully small - no major leaguer has cracked the magical .400 mark over an entire season since Ted Williams in 1941 - but the mere fact he's done it to this point is plenty noteworthy.

Murphy has enjoyed a particularly healthy surge on this road trip; he now has produced two four-hit games in the last three days. His effort yesterday included a double to right-center, a chopper that ricocheted off first base for a single, a hard shot past first baseman Anthony Rizzo for a single and a sharp grounder past shortstop Javier Baez.

That more than made up for Thursday night's 0-for-4 showing in the series opener.

"Yesterday I got chewed up and spit out," Murphy said. "They threw the ball well yesterday. Today, fortunately I got some pitches, from a personal perspective, in my zone and got some good swings off, and got one real cheesy one that hit off the bag. You'll take 'em."

Murphy indeed will keep taking them, as will the Nationals, whose $37.5 million investment in the second baseman is looking awfully good right now. Murphy enters the day leading the league in batting average, hits (43) and doubles (11), while ranking third in on-base percentage (.452), fourth in slugging percentage (.660) and second in OPS (1.113).

"Like I've said in the past, Murph has an idea what he wants to hit when he walks up there," manager Dusty Baker said. "This guy studies. He's found out what it takes for him to be successful. He's talking to some of the hitters on the bench about what he sees and different things. And right now, he's seeing the ball very, very, very well."

Game 30 lineups: Nats at Cubs
Scherzer tries to explain yet another home run bar...

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to