The adjustments Daniel Murphy made at the plate that turned him into a playoff hero in 2015 with the Mets weren't just a short-sample mirage after all. He continued to hit balls harder (career-high 38.2 percent hard-hit rate), higher (career-high 41.9 percent flyball rate) and farther (career-high average of 280.6 feet on flyballs) than he ever had before, resulting in -- you guessed it -- a career year that landed him in second place in NL MVP voting. Pitchers weren't able to find a hole in his new approach as the season progressed either, as his first half and second half splits were almost identical, right down to the .985 OPS in both halves. The only thing that slowed him down was a leg injury that limited him to 55 games in the second half, but he was still healthy enough to hit .438 in 16 postseason at-bats. Nagging lower-body injuries are definitely a red flag for a 31-year-old second baseman, especially one that didn't really have a step to lose, and the 21 games Murphy played at first base last year may have been a precursor to a more permanent move, especially if Ryan Zimmerman never returns to form. The offense Murphy supplied in 2016 is more than adequate for a shift down the defensive spectrum, though, even if it's taken on faith that he'll have some regression in his performance, despite the strong indications to the contrary.
Murphy went 2-for-5 with a homer, three RBI and two runs against the Rockies on Wednesday. The Nats have been enjoying themselves at Coors Field, but Murphy's been feasting in general, as evidenced by his .330 average, four homers and 22 RBI -- 12 of which he's accumulated in the last four games. Last season was no outlier; he's this good.
Murphy went 3-for-5 with a triple and five RBI in Tuesday's 15-12 win over the Rockies. He continues to drive in runs at a prolific rate, and Murphy is now slashing .325/.356/.542 with three homers and 19 RBI in 19 games. With Adam Eaton, Trea Turner and Bryce Harper all reaching base frequently ahead of him in the batting order, Murphy's RBI opportunities don't figure to dry up any time soon.
Murphy went 1-for-4 with a first-inning grand slam, his third home run of the season, in Sunday's 6-3 win over the Mets. He continues to punish the Mets for not re-signing him after his massive 2015 playoff run -- Murphy is now slashing .386/.421/.727 with eight homers and 25 RBI in 22 games against his former club since the beginning of last year. The Nats begin a four-game series in Coors Field on Monday, so expect the slugging second baseman to continue raking in the thin air.
Murphy (leg) is in the lineup for Friday's game against the Mets. The Nats suggested the leg tightness was a minor issue and it seems that was indeed the case, as Murphy is set to return against right-hander Matt Harvey. That said, team trainers told Murphy in the offseason that his upper-leg problem could recur at times this year, so it's something to keep in mind moving forward. Murphy hasn't seemed inhibited so far this season, going 21-for-61 (.344 average) with a pair of homers and 10 RBI through his first 14 games.
Murphy was scratched from Thursday's lineup due to tightness in his right leg, Dan Kolko of MASN reports. Murphy's removal from the lineup was precautionary, as it's believed that the injury is minor. At this point in time, Murphy is expected to return for Friday's series opener against the Mets. However, if he has to sit out another game, Grant Green or Wilmer Difo will likely get the nod to start at second base.
|vs N.Y. METS||3/13||.231||1||4||0||1||0|
|vs DEGROM (CAREER)||2/3||.667||0||0||0||0||0|