Distinguished Senators, the Washington Nationals Blog That Is Great

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Problem or Problem Problem

Michael A. Taylor is killing us out there.

A leadoff man - it's likely you knew this - is supposed to get on base, and Taylor is doing that every fifth time he gets the chance. You don't want to read much into one at-bat, but when he struck out Monday night with the bases loaded - well, it hurt because it was so predictable.

He's not making up for his putrid batting line in other ways, either. Taylor is playing like his tiny head is full of tiny rocks.

In the seventh on Monday, with the Nats down by four, Taylor singled. Up next were Anthony Rendon (good) and Bryce Harper (great!). Taylor, ignoring or defying all statistical conclusions and generations of lived baseball experience, lit out for second base and got caught. So that was two rallies killed.

It's OK, though. I'm fine. We're fine. There are two reasons I'm not really worried about this.

1. The Taylor situation is temporary. Ben Revere's coming back someday (right?), and then we can sit Taylor on the bench and tell him to think about what he did.

2. Dusty Baker knows that this is not ideal. This happened last year when Denard Span ended his Nats career in August, and it's not clear that Matt Williams understood what a setback it was. I quote myself:
The other day Dan Kolko was relating a conversation he'd had with Matt Williams: Given that Span has tightened up now and we're slated for more Taylor than we'd expected, did Williams want to see Taylor do anything differently? 
 No, of course not, we are told Williams said. Don't change a thing. As this happened, Taylor's stats appeared in the background, complete with a .280-something on-base percentage.
Dusty, on the other hand, evinces a basic understanding of whether or not a baseball player is getting the job done.
“He’s been struggling some to get on base,” Baker said. “But he’s the best that we have to put in that spot right now without having to tear the rest of the lineup up.”
One can take issue with the importance of not tearing up the lineup, but that's not a big deal. Having a manager with even the barest minimum qualifications, on the other hand, is huge.

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