The Position Player: Daniel Murphy
Every so often, a player comes along that just owns the Phillies. Sometimes they are future Hall of Famers, like Chipper Jones and Mike Piazza. Other instances include less talented players, like Juan Lagares and Michael Morese. Sadly, the Nationals have one of the all-time best Philadelphia torturers in Daniel Murphy.
Over the course of his career that spans from New York to Washington, the second baseman has slashed .316/.368/.506 against the Phillies in 126 games. Add to that, he has hit 12 homers and knocked in 66 runs (both are more than any other team he has faced in his career) in those games, and you have yourself a Phillies killer.
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Last season, he finished second in the batting title race because the Colorado Rockies sat D.J. LeMahieu in order to preserve his lead over Murphy. He has arguably been the best hitter on this Nationals team during his short time there. Last season, he was first on the team in every single offensive category, except runs scored, in which Anthony Rendon had three more than him. He was the only National to log more than 100 RBI last season.
In the first series against the Phillies, where he was 6-12 with four extra basehits and four runs scored, it seemed like no one could find a way to get him out consistently. I felt like it was only against the Phillies, but soon found out I was wrong. No one is able to consistently send him back to the dugout anymore. He is currently .450/.463/.725 through nine games.
I am a firm believer that the Phils can handle other pieces of their order over the weekend. However, they need to keep Murphy under control. If they are going to have success in doing so, Phillies pitchers will need to trust their stuff.
In all seriousness, Murphy stands right on top of the plate. He wants to pull the ball. Notice the crouched stance. The Phillies may have to do something that has seemed to be out of their comfort zones early this season: Throw the ball in and challenge him. Moving away does nothing to a guy who stands so close to the plate, except allow them to extend their arms (AKA exactly what they want). Honestly, the approach may not even work, but nothing else has worked up to this point either.