MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Espinosa nets NL honors with 17-RBI week

Nationals shortstop takes home 1st career award after eruption in Reds series

Espinosa nets NL honors with 17-RBI week

WASHINGTON -- Nationals shortstop Danny Espinosa called last week the best he has had as a Major Leaguer. The numbers back up his boast. He hit .423 with five home runs, 17 RBIs and eight runs scored. For putting up those unbelievable numbers, Espinosa was named the National League Player of the Week on Tuesday.

"I don't know if anyone could have done any better," manager Dusty Baker said. "That was a tremendous week."

Past winners

Espinosa joins outfielder Bryce Harper (April 11-17) as the Nationals' Player of the Week honorees this season. It is the 20th such honor for the organization.

"I had a lot of fun and was able to contribute to the wins, obviously," Espinosa said. "I'm happy to be a big part of this team and to help this team win games. … You are seeing the ball well. You are driving the ball you are supposed to drive, you are not missing the pitches you are getting. You can draw long at-bats, you are comfortable. You are very aware where you are at."

Must C: Espinosa belts two HRs

It was the four-game weekend series against the Reds that helped Espinosa win the award. Espinosa clubbed five home runs and drove in 15, a franchise record (Nationals/Expos) for RBIs in a single series. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only players in Major League Baseball history to match Espinosa's home run and RBI total in a series of no more than four games were the New York Yankees' Tony Lazzeri (at Philadelphia, 1936: six HR, 16 RBIs in four games), the St. Louis Browns' Chet Laabs (at Philadelphia, 1942: five HR, 15 RBIs in four games) and the San Diego Padres' Nate Colbert (at Atlanta, 1972: six HR, 15 RBIs in four games).

Espinosa didn't just stop at that plate, however, contritbuting a defensive gem off the bat of Jose Peraza in the sixth inning of Sunday's game. Peraza hit a grounder in the hole, Espinosa jumped and made a spectacular throw to first base to nail Peraza. For that moment, it preserved Stephen Strasburg's potential no-hitter.

Espinosa's amazing jump-throw

"It was probably my favorite," Espinosa said.

Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002 and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.