Rookie Victor Robles’ triple against the Atlanta Braves on September 14, 2017 electrified the crowd at Nationals Park.
Think of some of the most exciting things a fan can witness while attending a baseball game. A booming home run, a walk-off hit, a pitcher striking out the side and a tremendous defensive play are among them but for me, seeing a batter hit a ball into the gap and make it all the way to third for a three bagger is right at the top. In this edition of Nationals by the Numbers, we look at some details related to triples hit by the Nationals over their 13 years in Washington (thanks to Baseball-reference.com’s Play Index for making finding this information very quick and easy).
If a triple is a relatively rare occurrence at a Major League baseball game, a triple hit by a pitcher is more rare than a genial debate these days between Democrats and Republicans.
In the Nats’ history, two pitchers have hit triples. On September 24, 2005 at RFK Stadium against the New York Mets, Livan Hernandez hit a three bagger against Tom Glavine. Almost two years later at Shea Stadium on July 28, 2007, Joel Hanrahan did the trick against Mike Pelfrey and the Mets. The triple was one of two for Hernandez in his 17 year Major League career, and the only one for Hanrahan.
Four players have had a Nats’ record two triples in game.
If you blinked, you might have missed infielder Bernie Castro’s time with the Nationals in 2006. The switch-hitter played in 42 games for the Nats that season and hit only .227, but he had two triples in Washington’s 8-5 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on September 16th at RFK Stadium.
With 28 triples as a National, Cristian Guzman has the most in Nats’ history. On April 7, 2008 at Nationals Park against Florida, Guzman had two triples in Washington’s 10-7 loss to the Marlins.
Speedy Denard Span patrolled centerfield valiantly for the Nationals from 2013 to 2015, and he hit 19 triples while playing in DC. On May 31, 2013 at Atlanta, Span had two triples in Washington’s 3-2 victory over the Braves.
On August 13, 2016, Ben Revere became the fourth Nats’ player with two triples in a game. Revere’s pair of triples came in a 7-6 victory over the Braves at Nationals Park.
There have been five games in Nats’ history where a team record three triples have been hit.
On April 13, 2005 at Atlanta, Jamey Carroll, Jose Vidro and Terrmel Sledge all tripled in Washington’s 11-4 victory. Later that season, Brad Wilkerson, Preston Wilson and Brandon Watson all tripled but the trio of extra base hits did not prevent Washington from losing 8-4 to Florida.
RFK Stadium’s spacious gaps in both left-center and right-center were lush breeding ground for triples, and the Nats had three there in a September 16, 2006 8-5 win over Milwaukee. The aforementioned Bernie Castro had a pair, with then-rookie Ryan Zimmerman chipping in with the other.
In recent years the Nationals’ offense has often come alive when playing at Miami, and it certainly did on April 14, 2014 in the Nats’ 9-2 victory over the Marlins. In that contest, Bryce Harper, Danny Espinosa and Anthony Rendon all tripled.
In addition to Ben Revere’s pair of triples on August 13, 2016, Trea Turner also had one in the Nats’ 7-6 win over the Braves at Nationals Park.
Almost as rare as a triple by a pitcher is one by a player who toils behind the plate as a catcher. In Nats’ history, there have been 11 triples hit by catchers. Brian Schneider’s April 25, 2005 triple against Philadelphia at RFK Stadium was the first, and Jose Lobaton’s three bagger at home against Minnesota on April 22, 2016 was the most recent.
Former Nats’ backstop Jesus Flores holds the record for most triples by a catcher in his tenure in Washington with four.
If a garden variety triple is among the most exciting plays in baseball, a triple with the bases loaded takes the excitement level up several notches.
The Nats have had 12 bases loaded triples, with Daniel Murphy being the only player with more than one. Murphy had one on April 7, 2016 in the Nats’ home opening loss to Miami and picked up another this April 25th in Washington’s victory at Colorado.
The 2017 Nats have a team-record three bases loaded triples in a season. Trea Turner joined Murphy by having on on April 25th at Colorado, and Howie Kendrick drove home three runs with a triple on August 28th against Miami.
The 2017 Nats have 27 triples, with Trea Turner (6), Wilmer Difo (4) and Michael A. Taylor (3) leading the way. The team is only two three baggers away from the 2016 team’s total, but a far cry away from the Washington Nationals’ record of 38 set in the otherwise disappointing 103 loss 2009 season.
Washington has 350 triples since 2005, with 176 coming at home and 174 being hit on the road. The Nats have hit 125 triples at Nationals Park since 2008, and hit 51 at RFK Stadium from 2005 through 2007.
On the road, the Nats’ had a team high 27 at Turner Field in Atlanta. They’ve hit 17 at Marlins Park in Miami and 15 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. The 12 triples hit by Nats’ players at Chase Field in Arizona is the high mark at non-NL East facilities.
As referenced earlier, Cristian Guzman’s 28 triples is the most for a Nationals’ player. Ian Desmond is next with 21, followed by Ryan Zimmerman (20), Denard Span (19), Bryce Harper (18) and Trea Turner (14).