Michael A. Taylor was a bonafide superstar in the 2017 MLB Postseason for the Washington Nationals. He hit .333 with two home runs, eight runs driven in, and two walks for the Nats last October. After his performance, expectations were rightfully high for Taylor coming into the 2018 season.
Taylor started Opening Day in Centerfield and was expected to be a key cog for a Nationals team that was looking to finally make a deep postseason run. Unfortunately, however, the 2018 season is almost two months old and both Taylor and the Nationals have been struggling mightily.
Coming into Friday night’s series with the Miami Marlins, the division-favorite Nats sat in third-place in the NL East. Taylor was boasting a career-low batting average, OBP, and OPS at .186/.246/.560 respectively.
Nationals fans should have a reason for optimism however after Taylor hit a walk-off double against the San Diego Padres on Tuesday night that was inches away from leaving the park. He followed that up with another strong performance in Friday night’s game against Miami. Taylor, who was born in nearby Fort Lauderdale, got the Nats on the board early with a 2-run home run to left field in the second inning. Later, to leadoff the seventh inning, Taylor hit a double that sparked a three-run inning which would put the Nats ahead for good. Taylor also had a nice catch against the wall in centerfield which further reinforces his trademark defense that has been a consistent tool throughout his career.
Taylor had this to say about playing in front of family in friends who made the short drive from Fort Lauderdale to Miami, “It’s nice. They’re always watching, but it’s nice when you can look up and see them in the stands. They come out and support me, and I really appreciate it.” It is yet to be seen how Taylor will fare for the rest of the series in Miami, but Nats fans should be hopeful that this trip home will reignite the Michael A. Taylor that they got a glimpse of in the 2018 Postseason.
As for the rest of the Nats, they followed Taylor’s example and played a strong game offensively. The team put up 9 runs to beat the Marlins 9-5 and to move to just two games behind the Atlanta Braves for first place in the NL East. It also puts the Nats just half-a-game behind the Philadelphia Phillies for second place. The Nats will play two more games in Miami on Saturday and Sunday before heading to Baltimore to face the Orioles in the Battle of the Beltways.