Trea Turner has known he’s been white-hot at the plate the in recent days. Notching eight straight hits will do that.
“I mean, if you don't, you're lying,” Turner said. “Everyone thinks about it.”
But the 23-year-old speedster didn’t realize he was franchise-record hot until it was too late in Wednesday's 10-8 loss to the Baltimore Orioles.
After tying Dmitri Young and Andre Dawson’s Nationals/Expos mark with eight hits in consecutive plate appearances earlier in the night, Turner struck out in the ninth inning to end his shot at history. It was only then, upon seeing his whiff on a computer replay, that he saw a note on the screen saying he was one hit shy of standing alone.
“If I would have known that, I wouldn't have struck out, probably,” he joked. “I'm just kidding. I didn't know that until then."
If your only struggle of late is having to settle for tying a franchise record, chances are things are going well.
Turner’s time in the majors this season has lasted all of 37 games, and yet rookie has made a huge impression on his team by making the game look easy on a nightly basis. Whether that’s being the needed sparkplug at the plate or a terror on the base paths, the much-ballyhooed prospect might be even better than some in the organization initially believed.
“Trea’s been playing great,” manager Dusty Baker said. “He had a great night at the plate. He’s also a very determined young man. That determination and youthful exuberance I think has rubbed off on the team.”
Perhaps even more impressive than Turner’s ability is his aptitude. In addition to having to adjust to big-league pitching, he’s had to learn center field, a position he hadn’t played in college or in the minors prior to this season.
And on Wednesday night’s first play, Turner showed why the Nats believe he’ll be just fine at his new home. He sprinted and dove at full speed rob Orioles’ leadoff man Adam Jones’ of extra bases.
“We’re both about the same speed,” veteran first baseman Ryan Zimmerman deadpanned. “For him to do that [is impressive]. He’s been playing center field for a month, maybe.”
Of course, he still has his hiccups, as he had later in the game when he leaped and couldn’t haul in ball near the wall in deep center field. But given everything else he brings to the team, the Nats will surely endure whatever growing pains he goes through.
“I feel good [in center field],” he said. “I feel like I'm kinda picking it up as I go and continue to do that in [batting practice] and also the games."
Since the day he became an everyday player, Turner has looked like he belongs. With a slash line of .335/.359/.544 to go along with nine doubles, six triples and four home runs, he may already be establishing himself as one of the most dynamic leadoff men in the game.
"I think it's an empty mind,” Turner said of his approach. “You're not really thinking too much. You just react. I think the more you can do that, the better you'll be, the more success you'll have.”
And if this is only the beginning, the Nats have to be awfully excited about what's in store for the Lake Worth, Florida native.
“He’s still so young,” Zimmerman said. “He’s still learning how to play and learning himself. His baseball IQ is through the roof. I think he makes adjustments really quick. He’s really observant of what goes on around him. He’s going to be a really good one.”
Baltimore Orioles (70-56) vs. Washington Nationals (73-53), Nationals Park, Washington, D.C. 7:05 p.m.
Ubaldo Jimenez (5-10, 6.94) vs. Max Scherzer (13-7, 3.05)
Keys to the Game:
Can the Orioles win four straight against the team with the second-best record in the National League? They're one game behind Toronto and Boston for the AL East lead.
Can Jimenez continue his success against the Nationals? He's 6-1 with a 2.32 ERA in eight starts and 4-0 with an 0.92 ERA at Nationals Park.
News and Notes:
Scherzer is 4-2 with a 3.81 ERA in eight starts against the Orioles.
Adam Jones is 11-for-25 (.440) with three home runs against Scherzer. Manny Machado is 1-for-15 (.067) with a home run.
Zach Britton allowed his first earned run since Apr. 30, but he still has his streak of 38 consecutive saves intact.
The Orioles could make another roster move. Parker Bridwell could be sent down and another reiiever brought up.
RELATED: MILEY GETS 1ST WIN AS ORIOLE
Thursday the Redskins will take their show on the road, as the team will do their walk-through before the Bills game in front of military personnel at Joint Base Andrews. With Wednesday's whirlwind pursuit of Bryan Stork still somewhat fluid, there will be plenty to watch.
- Stork reactions - Players will likely speak sparingly Thursday following their walk-through session but the big question will be about the the former Patriots center. Where does he fit and how do the current players fit in with Stork will dominate the discussion.
- Getting specific - So what happens now at the center position? Is Stork a move for depth or to compete with Kory Lichtensteiger as the starting center? What does this mean for Spencer Long, or even more, Josh LeRibeus?
- Focus on the game - Despite all the noise surrounding the Stork trade, Washington has a game to play Friday night. A preseason game, yes, but the third preseason game where expectations are starters will play the first half. This is the most important - and for some only - live action before Week 1 against the Steelers. The Skins need to be ready.
Stay tuned all day for updates from @JPFinlayCSN.