Daniel Murphy has proven he is a bonafide big league hitter. In his first four games this season, Murph has picked up right where he left off before his injury last year. Daniel has been a machine at the plate and coming up with the game winner in the 9th inning of last night’s thrilling walk-off win was a memorable moment even this early in the season. Not to mention that remarkable diving stop to end the top half of the 9th and having the composure and presence of mind to get that ball to second for the out. He’s growing defensively and hopefully he can become a real asset as a second baseman in the future.
Manager Terry Collins in the previous few games took out Daniel in the last innings for a replacement, but decided to leave him in last night and it paid off. Maybe fate played a part. It was a scorching line drive up the middle by Ryan Zimmerman that had base hit written all over it. Murphy dove to his right made the play and flipped it to Ruben Tejada who was covering second base to retire the side.
In the next half inning after a walk to Baxter and a bunt by Tejada that was thrown away by the pitcher Rodriguez that set up runners on second and third with nobody out. Murphy took a inside fastball and lined it to right field for a base knock which drove in Baxter for the winner.
Going back to Murphy’s defense… this spring, he worked with former New York Mets and current coaches Wally Backman and Tim Teufel who put real emphasis on positioning.
“Throughout the spring you could see Daniel really getting more comfortable on double plays and its going to show with his play.” Wally Backman said towards the end of the spring when asked about Murphy’s progress at second base.
From watching Daniel for a while whether it was in left or at first and now second, he always looked uneasy and not very smooth wherever he played. But throughout this spring and into the early part of the season, Murphy definitely looks smoother out there and more comfortable too, maybe he has found a home at second.
Collins clearly has faith in Murphy on defense to keep him in there last night – especially in the late innings of a tight game. It’s still early, but what we have seen out of Murph on defense so far has to be encouraging.