• Ian Desmond's been in the two-hole the last two games. Danny Espinosa, who's 9 for 60 so far in the second-half, has been dropped in the order. In his two games back near the top, Desmond's 3 for 8 with a double and a run scored, and in the last 28 days (as broken down by B-BRef), the 25-going-on-26-year old shortstop's posted a .279/.371/.393 slash with 17 hits, three doubles, two triples and nine walks/12 K's in 72 plate appearances. Over the same stretch, Espinosa, 24, has 14 hits, a triple, two HR's and 10 walks/29 K's in 93 plate appearances. Asked about Espinosa's struggles before Saturday's game and before Espinosa went 1 for 7 with three K's in the Nats' back-to-back wins over New York, former Mets and current Nats' Skipper Davey Johnson said his second baseman's, "... looked pretty good. He's been hitting the ball hard. The whole club, even last night, we've hit some balls on the button."
"When we hit the ball hard," as Espinosa had in several at bats against Florida in the previous, "It's right at somebody," Johnson said, "The Mets are going real good. When they hit the ball it was dunked in front of my fielder or hit over his head. You make your own breaks, but right now we're not getting any breaks."
Was Johnson giving Ian Desmond a break (or a "cookie" as he'd described it previously), when he was moved back to the two-spot before Saturday's game against New York and knuckle-baller R.A. Dickey, or was he back there because the manager saw some improvement that warranted the move? "This is another cookie," Johnson said, "... and Ian loves cookies. Although I don't consider it anything special when you're moved up in the lineup and there's a knuckle baller going, so we'll see." Desmond was hitting second again on Sunday, however. No lineup for tonight yet.
• After Friday's loss to New York which saw Chien-Ming Wang return to the mound after more than two years of rehabbing his shoulder, Davey Johnson spoke about some other possible additions to the rotation that might be coming soon, mentioning 24-year-old left-hander Tom Milone and 23-year-old right-hander Brad Peacock as pitchers who'd earned a look late this season.
"[Tom] Milone has done a great job down there, he's probably been if not the best, one of the best pitchers in the International League, and young [Brad] Peacock came up, threw a one-hitter. He tore up Double-A. He's the other one. So, there's some guys that I'd like to get some experience up here."
Following Sunday night's win which left Washington 51-56, the Nationals are 17.0 games out of first in the NL East and 11.0 games back in the Wild Card Race. "If we were fighting for a pennant we might not do it," Johnson said when asked about using some of new pitchers like Ross Detwiler, Peacock and Milone going forward, "but since we're where we're at it's time to look at some new arms. Give them an opportunity to kind of establish. That's what you do."
"There's a couple of arms knocking on the door down there in Triple-A," Johnson continued, "Milone and Peacock. Milone has been outstanding, arguably one of the best pitchers in [the International League] and so we're going to be looking at them and when it's time we'll bring them up here."
With Jason Marquis traded, Tom Gorzelanny (according to Davey Johnson) transitioning to the pen for now, Jordan Zimmermann four starts from reaching his innings limit, Stephen Strasburg a month or so away from possibly returning and Detwiler, Peacock and Milone coming up to throw some big league innings, the starting rotation will look much different than what the Nats have had, or even have now, but it will provide a glimpse of what NatsTown can expect to see in the future.