Espinosa flashing all-around game since break

Espinosa flashing all-around game since break

WASHINGTON -- After a slow start, Nationals second baseman Danny Espinosa has been getting the job done at the plate recently. Espinosa was hitting .293 with seven home runs and 22 RBIs since the All-Star break entering Tuesday's action against the Braves. His overall batting average was .253 with 14 home runs and 46 RBIs.

Espinosa's success at the plate is because he has been able to trust his hands a lot more and hit the ball where it is pitched.

"I've been going up there feeling comfortable. I've been able to trust my hands," Espinosa said. "My hands are quick enough to be able to see a pitch that I want and react to it. ... It probably keeps me a little more steady. I feel better on a day-to-day basis."

Throughout the entire season, Espinosa hasn't let his offense affect his defense. He was outstanding playing shortstop for Ian Desmond, who was on the disabled list because of an oblique injury. And Espinosa's glove work at second base is always Gold Glove caliber.

"To me, you can't allow your offense to carry over into your defensive play. You have to try to separate those two as much as you can," Espinosa said. "Good at-bat, bad at-bat, you can't allow anything to go on the defensive side. If I don't have a good offensive day, I look at it and say I'm going to try to help the team defensively, whether it's saving a run, turning a double play, or whatever."