Michael Morse played Saturday and Sunday, but the Nationals didn’t really have him back until Tuesday night. When Morse walked to the plate last night for his second at-bat, he was 0 for 9 since debuting with three strikeouts and six outs hit to the shortstop — five groundouts and one soft liner. He knew he needed to make an adjustment.
Finally, Morse said, “it kind of clicked a little bit.” Against Chris Young, Morse lined a double into the right-centerfield gap: a missile to the opposite field, the kind of hit on which he built his breakout 2011 season.
“The last couple days, I’ve been kind of connecting way out in front,” Morse said late last night. “So I tried to see the ball deep today. I tried to really focus on right-center. That’s my power. That’s where I usually hit. After I hit that first one, it felt normal. It felt right.”
In the 12th inning, Morse still felt right. He roped another laser to right field, this one harder and father, a near homer off the out-of-town scoreboard. The rocket sparked the Nationals’ two-run, game-winning rally. Without Morse, Bryce Harper would not been in position for his walk-off single.
That was an obviously an extreme example, but Morse’s bat, when he gets going, will make an enormous impact on the Nationals lineup. Ryan Zimmerman also showed signs of ditching his funk, ripping two singles and drilling a line drive to center that was caught. He still isn’t lifting the ball and doing extra-base damage, but perhaps he’s coming around.
After three games, Morse looks to have found his form, which is a significant development for the Nationals’ offense.