Taylor swipes 4 to take MLB stolen base lead

OF making case for regular playing time with recent offensive surge

June 17th, 2018

TORONTO -- The Nationals' outfield quandary is starting to become more difficult to solve with the recent hot streak from Michael A. Taylor. He provided a spark to a scuffling Nats offense Sunday afternoon at Rogers Centre, going 3-for-4 and wreaking havoc on the basepaths in Washington's 8-6 loss.

Taylor singled three times and swiped a career-high four stolen bases to take the MLB lead with 21 on the season. His four stolen bases also tied a Nationals record for the most stolen bases in a game, matching teammate 's accomplishment, which happened against the Cubs on June 27, 2017.

"Michael was good all the way around," manager Dave Martinez said. "He played really well."

Taylor's speed helped him score two runs and ignited a game-tying fifth inning for Washington.

"Just the situation," Taylor said. "You know a lot of times when you get on base, you might want to steal, but the game doesn't dictate or allow it."

The swipes continue what has been a hot start to June for Taylor at the plate. He has collected a hit in each of his past 14 games as a starter, batting .392 during that span with five doubles, a triple and a home run. Combined with his stellar defense in center field, it has made Taylor a valuable player as he jockeys for playing time in Washington's crowded outfield.

The Nats are trying to balance playing time for , , Juan Soto and Taylor, with three spots to split between the four of them. With Taylor's latest turnaround at the plate, it's difficult to make a case that he should not continue to play regularly.

"I think I've been really trying to stay in the strike zone and been a little more selective lately," Taylor said. "I'm glad things are progressing on that front."