The worst part about last night for me wasn't the loss. Worry about the Nats if they can't pull out of this in Milwaukee. The worst part was staying up past that interminable Top of the 9th only to lose. You were making a deal with the devil then. I'll stay up and watch this but because I want to see the Nats win a game. And then the devil gets you.
So now what in CF?
In short : Nothing.
In long :
It would be completely unfair to look at last night and demote or otherwise get rid of MAT. That was pretty much the lowest point for the kid and it is not likely to be repeated. However it isn't unfair to look at MAT's stats at nearly 200 PA (he's got roughly a quarter season worth) and his stats for his career and think the same things. In 2014* he OPS+ 75, in 2015 it was 72, this year so far it is 75. He struck out 39.5% of the time in 2014, 30.9% in 2015, 31.4% this year. The line on MAT has always been that when he makes contact his combination of speed and power make him a dangerous offensive player. However, he's not making enough contact. Not now, not ever at the major league level. It's easy to think that MAT should be a 5th OF. It's easy to think he should be the type of player that is a late inning D replacement (yes, I know - like good defenders don't make errors, smart guy), pinch runner, bat you send up if you are hoping for a bomb.
Whether that is premature or not Taylor isn't the 5th OF. He's being used as a platoonish starter right now, and that's because of how Ben Revere is doing. Revere was the assumed full-time starter and he doesn't seem right. Given his overall consistency I'd guess he's still feeling the effects of injury but either way the results have been unusable. Ben is guy who lives and dies by the single and he's not hitting them. A .206 average in a few less at bats than MAT has. He's hitting a lot more flyballs this year, worthless hits for a guy like him with no power. He's striking out a bit more. He hasn't been a good fielder in years, and his speed is only helpful if he gets on the base paths. He hasn't been starter worthy either for the season.
If the Nats were inclined to make a dramatic move or were in panic mode we might see neither Taylor or Revere starting. In fact I'm sure there'll be calls for den Dekker, as he's the type that leaves a good impression. But he's currently hitting .219 in Syracuse, and in brief outings this year he hit worse than MAT. He might be passable in a strict platoon but probably not. He's just ok in the field too and not as fast as these other two.There's not a conspiracy holding this guy back. He isn't that good. Chris Heisey is no better.
What's in the minors? People might ask to see Brian Goodwin called up just to try it. He is hitting .294. But he also doesn't have any patience and meh power. He has been toning down the Ks as the season has worn on. He had 21 in 77 PAs in April, 11 in 77 PAs so far in June. So maybe? It doesn't feel like a smart move though. More throwing stuff at the wall to see if it sticks. Stevenson or Robles? Too far away.
So... trade? Not so fast. The truth is the quasi-platoon Dusty was throwing out there was working, at least it has been recently. Revere has hit .308 in his last 12 games. Yes, absolutely no patience or power but he's been getting his singles. He's been sitting not because of his stinky overall numbers, but because there have been a lot of lefty starters recently. MAT has been allowed to face those guys and in the same rough time frame (since June 5th) MAT has hit .348 / .375 / .587. That includes last night's 0 fer. How can you ask for more than this? CF the last 2 weeks has been good.
It's doubtful the position is ever going to be what you want it to be. Revere is a lifetime averag-ish singles hitter coming off of injury who fields ok. Taylor is a clearly below average hitter who strikes out too much to play everyday, but fields well and is enough of a power threat to make his bat useful. That's who these guys are. Use them smartly and you might squeeze out a position that's a little above average. For the season that hasn't worked out but for the past couple weeks it really has. The Nats should not worry about last night and keep doing the same.
The All-Star break is still a month away. Let it play out until then. Maybe this keeps working and you ride it all season long. Maybe Revere starts hitting, MAT cools down, and you start to make Ben the full-time guy again and MAT a spot starter. Maybe they both go back to failing and you know you have to make a move. But these guys have not been hurting the team in June. To change things up now would be going after something that just might be fixed. Maybe. Possibly. Don't let one terrible night lose sight of that.
*Yes, yes. Small sample. It's more of a backward allowance. Fits pattern shown in other years so we don't throw it out like we might a 120 OPS+ or a 40 OPS+. Not really fair but this isn't high level analysis here just pointing out a pattern.