Nationals shortstop Danny Espinosa has yet to put a ball in play through three NLDS games between the Nationals and Dodgers. He has zero hits, has struck out six times, but has been hit by pitch three times. He is batting .000 in the series, but has a .300 OBP. He has no walks or sacrifice flies.
Surely Dusty Baker isn’t exactly happy with the hole in the order, but the Nationals are up 2-1, and Game 3 turned out to be a blowout, so Espinosa’s productivity—or lack thereof—is mostly inconsequential.
The Dodgers, however, probably have some reasonable gripes. Two of Espinosa’s HBPs came Sunday afternoon with Rich Hill on the mound for the Dodgers. One HBP bounced off Espinosa’s foot—which led Harold Reynolds to unhelpfully speculate that it was intentional.
Today’s HBP, however, was located within the strike zone.
Here’s the pitch, via Fangraphs:
Espinosa was hit 20 times during the regular season, the third-most in MLB. He was hit by pitch twice in the same game two times this season. In May, Espinosa told the Washington Post he believes he is hit by pitch so often because he was batting eighth in the lineup. Dusty Baker has a different theory: Espinosa simply doesn’t move when a pitch is coming right at him.
“If you’re gonna try to come in and brush me off the plate and move me, I’m not gonna move,” Espinosa said. “I’m not gonna give up the inside part of the plate when they try to free that up. I’m not trying to lean in. If you hit me, you hit me. ”
Okay, that sufficiently explains that mystery. An even murkier one? Whether or not Espinosa will manage to get a single hit in the series. Stay tuned!