MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Nats need Span to key offense from the top

Nats need Span to key offense from the top

SAN FRANCISCO -- If the Nationals are going to get their offense going, leadoff hitter Denard Span has to start hitting. Entering Game 3 of the National League Division Series (5 p.m. ET, MLB Network), the Giants have held Span hitless in 11 at-bats.

Span was particularly angry at himself for the way he performed during the 18-inning, 2-1 loss to San Francisco in Game 2 on Sunday. He went 0-for-7 with a strikeout.

  Date Time Matchup Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 3   SF 3, WAS 2 video
Gm 2 Oct. 4   SF 2, WAS 1 (18 inn.) video
Gm 3 Oct. 6   WAS 4, SF 1 video
Gm 4 Oct. 7   SF 3, WAS 2 video
"It's just trying too hard," Span said. "I think we all want to do well, especially this time of year. We have to find a way to slow it down. Let the game come to me, instead of trying to chase it. I just have to trust myself and do what I've done all year."

Manager Matt Williams said Span is a little impatient at the plate, but that the center fielder knows what he needs to do to get back on track.

"You know, when Denard has success, he gets the ball back through the middle a lot," Williams said.

On Sunday, Span said he felt much better. He credits his family for encouraging him and vows he will be ready to go.

"We'll be ready to go. I'll be ready to go," Span said.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com 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.