Ian Desmond is maturing at short
The list of things Ian Desmond did to stick out Thursday night is long. He beat out a routine ground ball to shortstop for a single. He drove in two runs with a single. He made a tremendous backhand stop and a Howitzer throw to first for the second out in the 11th inning. His most standout moment came when he won the game with a sharp single up the middle in 13th.
The most significant thing Desmond did all night may have come in the fourth. Desmond ranged to his right, made a diving stop on what would have been a simple single with most shortstops and hopped to his feet. And then came the important moment.
Desmond just held the ball.
Along with swinging a hot bat as his rookie season winds down, Desmond is showed signs he can harness his elite athleticism and range. Desmond played for most of this season as if he never came across a play he didn't think he could make. His exuberance manifested as making needless throws and contributed to his 28 errors, eight more than any player in the major leagues.
On Wednesday, in his first game back from two days off with a sore thumb, Desmond displayed the maturation Nationals coaches wanted to see. In the third inning, Ryan Dempster rolled a bounding ball up the middle. Desmond made a lunging stop behind second, spun and cocked his arm. What happened next was most impressive: Nothing. In past weeks and months, Desmond may have gunned the ball into the camera well. Instead, he held on to it.
"That's probably eight of his errors right there," Manager Jim Riggleman said. "Nobody else gets to that ball. He gets to it and then throws it away. To recognize that, 'I better holds this instead of throw it,' I think was a sing of progress.
"I admire him for throwing those other balls. Because when you do that, you know, that's a team thing. He knows nothing good is going to come out of this except the slight chance I have of getting him out, but there's a chance I'm going to get charged with an error on this."
When necessary, of course, Desmond is capable of making the big play. He rifled down John Jay in the 11th. On Wednesday Starlin Castro, blazingly fast, chopped toward short. Desmond charged, scooped the ball and fired to first, getting Castro by a step. Castro could hardly believe.
It seems Desmond has also finally captured the ability to rein himself in when the time calls for it.
"I think that comes with playing everyday and being out there," Desmond said. "I think earlier in the season, I was playing four or five days and then sitting for a day. I was just trying to do too much. I was really trying to earn the respect of my teammates and my manager as an everyday player. I was probably putting a little too much pressure on myself. Now that I'm getting a chance to go out there every day, it just feels good. Everything seems normal."
FROM THE POST
Bryce Harper is a great distraction from a bleak present, Boz writes. Seriously, read that. Boz brings the pain today.
As Jordan Zimmermann returned, the Nationals beat the Cardinals 6-5 in 13 innings in a remarkable game.
Bryce Harper said hello to Washington and had fun doing it.
NATS MINOR LEAGUES
Syracuse 5, Buffalo 4 (14 innings): Chase Lambin went 1 for 5 with a home run and a walk. Erik Arnesen allowed three runs in six innings on nine hits and two walks, striking out four.
Harrisburg 3, Trenton 1: Chris Marrero went 3 for 4. Jesus Valdez went 2 for 4 with a double. Ryan Tatusko allowed one run on five hits and two walks, striking out seven.
Potomac was off.
Delmarva 11, Hagerstown 6: Eury Perez went 4 for 4 with two doubles. Rick Hague went 2 for 5.
Connecticut 7, Vermont 3: Russell Moldenhauer went 2 for 4. David Freitas went 1 for 2 with two walks. Kevin Cahill allowed no runs in two innings on two hits.
FROM AROUND THE WEB
It was a day of ups and downs for the Nationals, Mark Zuckerman writes.
Ian Desmond and Roger Bernadina showed why they're here to stay, Ben Goessling writes.
Here's some info on Albert Pujols's 400th home run from ESPN.
Tony La Russa and Albert Pujols are planning on attending Glenn Beck's rally Saturday, Joe Strauss reports.
August 27, 2010; 6:30 AM ET
Save & Share: Previous: Announcement coming on Stephen Strasburg
Next: Announcement on Stephen Strasburg scheduled for 10:30
Posted by: mojo6 | August 27, 2010 7:03 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: FeelWood | August 27, 2010 8:10 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: utec | August 27, 2010 8:22 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: hansenjo | August 27, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Sunderland | August 27, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: SpashCity | August 27, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: mojo6 | August 27, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Meridian1 | August 27, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: NatsFly | August 27, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Section505203 | August 27, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: frenchyb | August 27, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: dargregmag | August 27, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: RLFWDC | August 27, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: JamesFan2 | August 27, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: fischy | August 27, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: hansenjo | August 27, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse