Moore, Espinosa trying to break out of funks

Moore, Espinosa trying to break out of funks

LOS ANGELES -- One has to wonder how concerned manager Davey Johnson is about his offense, which ranks 28th in the Major Leagues entering Wednesday's action.

Some of Johnson's hitters look overmatched at the plate, especially outfielder Tyler Moore and second baseman Danny Espinosa, who struck out a combined five times against the Dodgers on Tuesday night.

Moore was one of Washington 's best hitters off the bench last year, but he now has a .145 batting average with one home run.

As for Espinosa, his problems at the plate date to last October, when he went a combined 2-for-24 during the regular season and the postseason. Espinosa has been playing with a torn rotator cuff in his left shoulder, but he has not used that as an excuse as to why he is not hitting. Espinosa has a .175 batting average going into Wednesday's action.

Asked why Moore and Espinosa are struggling so badly, Johnson said, "Danny's best side is right-handed. [Left-hander Clayton] Kershaw made some good pitches on him and he had some pitches to hit and I think he is trying to do too much.

"Tyler Moore is in a little bit of a funk, he had been kind of all year. He hasn't been himself. We are going to try to get him more at-bats to get him in a groove."

Hitting coaching Rick Eckstein said that both Moore and Espinosa are missing the fastball.

"They have to get back on the fastball," Eckstein said. "You can't be in between. …. When you are facing guys as tough as Kershaw, you are not going to get too many pitches that are over the heart of the plate. The breaking stuff, when it's down in the zone, it has late sharp bite on it. It's pretty good. You have to get on the fastball. Anytime you are sitting in between, you are late on the heater and early in the off speed. You have to get back on the heater."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. Andrew Simon is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @HitTheCutoff. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.