And now let us praise Jayson Werth, whose walk-off home run tonight allowed this miraculous 2012 Nats season to continue.
Fans who were privileged to watch it in person will have thousands of stories. But if all of them were to tell all of their stories all at once, the roar would not be one-tenth as loud as the roar of the crowd at Nats Park tonight. This was probably the loudest I, personally, have ever heard the park. It was certainly the loudest I had heard it since the debut of Stephen Strasburg.
Loyal Nats fans will probably recall Charlie Slowes’ account of the home run–which perfectly captures the utter emotional release of the moment.
The rest of the baseball-watching public will probably remember this image of the walk-off: the ball sailing into the visitors’ bullpen in left field, touching off absolute bedlam at Nats park.
But perhaps the best way to understand Jayson Werth’s walk-off tonight is this video–a pitch-by-pitch account of the entire thirteen-pitch at-bat that culminated in the home run. Werth fouled off six pitches, took a two-strike curve for a ball, before crushing the thirteenth and final pitch into the left-field bullpen.
Werth’s two-strike approach tonight was as cool as a Test Cricket batsman at his crease, methodically wearing down Cardinals reliever Lance Lynn. It was precisely for this type of performance that the Nats paid such an extravagant sum.
I counted myself as one of Jayson Werth’s detractors during the 2011 season, particularly during the miserable month of June, where he went .154/.291/.286 with 25 strikeouts. His 2012 season, however, has been a tremendously pleasant surprise to me. At the close of the regular season, he batted .300/.387/.440 and posted a wRC+ of 129–roughly the level of his 2008 and 2009 seasons with the Phillies. Tonight’s walk-off is just another example of Werth’s tremendous 2012 season.
He may not be my personal favorite National, but Jayson Werth has earned my respect–and my full-throated, roaring acclamation.