The Nationals at one point in September were without four of their five All-Star players who were dealing with injuries: Stephen Strasburg (forearm), Daniel Murphy (gluteus), Bryce Harper (thumb), and Wilson Ramos (knee) plus key starter Joe Ross (shoulder).
“There’s always a level of concern when you lose a guy of that caliber,” Dusty Baker said about the season-ending injury of Wilson Ramos. “Nobody’s going to feel sorry for [us]. We just got to next man up. We got some guys that have to pick it up.”
This started the “next man up” mantra. Pedro Severino and Jose Lobaton would share the catching duties to replace Wilson Ramos. Gio Gonzalez would move up to take Strasburg’s spot in the post-season rotation and will pitch today. Daniel Murphy and Bryce Harper were both able to replace themselves and Murphy has quickly found his ‘singles’ swing, and hopefully his power will return also.
Murphy is batting .667 in this NLDS with his 3-3 game and that raised Murphy’s career post-season batting average to .359 in 64 at-bats of which 7 hits were home runs. Murphy’s OPS is 1.150 in the post-season.
“He’s just a great player,” Jayson Werth said. “What he did last year down the stretch, he’s been able to hold on to that and keep it going. It’s really cool to see. Obviously a big part of our team.”
“He’s one of the best in baseball,” Bryce Harper. “That’s the MVP this year. He did it the right way and bringing it on to the postseason. Murphy didn’t play for three weeks, and now he’s raking again.”
MLB in their recap video (below) credited “Murphy leads Nats to Game 2 win”.
“Man, that was huge, I didn’t think anybody could hit a home run out of left field today, the way that wind was blowing everything back,” Dusty Baker said. “I mean, [Lobaton] had to hit it a ton.”
Jose Lobaton had the big blast in the game and the game winning RBIs. The home run came with 2 outs, and just like the man he replaced, Wilson Ramos, that was part of Ramos’ specialty in big hits and big home runs with 2 outs to win big games.
“When I hit the ball, I didn’t know it was going to go out,” Lobaton said. “When it went out, I was like ‘wow, that’s pretty cool.’”
Sometimes baseball defies the laws of physics and science to explain how Lobaton’s ball cut through the wind at that moment in time to clear the bullpen fence.
“It kind of felt like the monkey jumped off our back there a little bit,” Jayson Werth said. “It was a big sigh of relief in the dugout. We needed a big hit.”
Later, Loby. #OnePursuit pic.twitter.com/V3nfjID3GS
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) October 10, 2016
It was time for FWAHHHH and time for the next men up!
“Hats off to our bullpen today,” Daniel Murphy added as they have now thrown 7 2/3 combined shutout innings.
It is a team effort. Next man up.