Espinosa has been slumping lately. He went hitless (0-for-11 with 9 strikeouts) in the just-concluded series against the Atlanta Braves and has only one hit in his last 21 at-bats dating back to Sept. 8. That skid has seen his average fall to .250, and perhaps the shoulder is to blame. The second baseman will miss the upcoming series against the Los Angeles Dodgers and possibly more. Its unclear what the exact issue is or whether it will be fixed in time for the 25-year-old in his third year with the Nats to return in time for the playoffs.
Espinosa will most likely be replaced by Steve Lombardozzi in the everyday lineup until his return. Lombardozzi is hitting .279 with a pair of home runs and an on-base percentage of .324 on the season.