ST. LOUIS -- For the most part, the Nationals were devoid of first-time postseason jitters in their 3-2 win over the Cardinals in Game 1 on Sunday. The obvious exception was Gio Gonzalez, who walked a career-high seven batters and appeared overly anxious in his first start in the playoffs.
But Washington manager Davey Johnson said Monday that second baseman Danny Espinosa, who went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts, was perhaps affected by the magnitude of the moment in his first postseason experience.
"He's healthy. I think he's just a little amped up," Johnson said. "He finished the season kind of being a little overly aggressive, and I think the situation's kind of pushing him to be a little overly aggressive."
Espinosa struck out looking on four pitches in the second inning, went down swinging on three pitches in the fourth, and again on four pitches in the sixth inning before eventually trying to bunt for a hit amid the Nationals' eighth-inning rally. The move worked out, as Espinosa pushed Michael Morse and Ian Desmond into scoring position, but it was the only time the second baseman put a ball in play all game.
Espinosa ended the regular season with three hits and 12 strikeouts in his last 32 plate appearances, battling a left shoulder injury that required a cortisone shot.
"He's tough, and he's smart," Johnson said. "He'll be all right."