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Wire Taps: Nationals' Ian Desmond heating up at right time for Nats

Sure his home run to left was impressive, but Washington Nationals' skipper Matt Williams talked on Sunday about Ian Desmond's eighth inning single as a sign that the 28-year-old shortstop is starting to heat up at the plate. Is Desmond set to break out...

Greg Fiume

Ian Desmond's leadoff home run in the second traveled 429 feet over the bullpen to the seats behind the 1067theFAN sign to tie things up at 1-1 with the New York Mets in the finale of the three-game series in Nationals Park.

Washington's 28-year-old shortstop's 7th home run of the season started yet another comeback, but it was Desmond's eighth-inning at bat that really impressed Nats' skipper Matt Williams.

"Desi looks a lot better at the plate. He had a couple of bloop hits which is good for him. And of course the home run..." - Matt Williams on Ian Desmond's Sunday in D.C.

After Wilson Ramos drew a leadoff walk from Mets' reliever Daisuke Matsuzaka, Desmond battled the veteran right-hander and went the other way for a soft liner to right that moved Ramos around to third before the catcher scored one out later when Kevin Frandsen grounded into a force at second but avoided a double play.

"Desi looks a lot better at the plate," Williams said after the shortstop's 2 for 4 day. "He had a couple of bloop hits which is good for him. And of course the home run, but the most impressive at bat for me today was him working the count, and he blooped it in there but he sold out to try to get Wilson to third base and that's team baseball."

With hits in six of his last seven games, (9 for 26, 3 HRs, 1 3B), Desmond's starting to heat up at the plate.

Through 179 plate appearances, he now has a .235/.285/.404 line.

Can Desmond and the surging Wilson Ramos spark a run?

We'll see if Desmond can keep it going tonight when the Nationals start a three-game series with the Reds.

Until then, links and lots of them, starting... RIGHT NOW!!!:


• "May has muddled one of the brightest storylines of the Nationals’ season. Espinosa is 6 for 51 this month with – this is staggering – 23 strikeouts and zero walks." - "Danny Espinosa’s revival hits a snag" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post


• "Gonzalez, who was placed on the 15-day DL Sunday morning, was examined by an orthopedist and received relatively good news." - "Gio Gonzalez placed on 15-day DL with left shoulder inflammation" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "Gonzalez does not have any structural damage to his injured left shoulder, according to manager Matt Williams." - "Nationals Pastime: Williams updates Gonzalez's injury and recaps Nats' 6-3 win" - Dan Kolko,

• "Gonzalez will not require any kind of procedure, and he will likely return after a minimum or near-minimum stint on the disabled list." - "Gio Gonzalez placed on 15-day disabled list, will not need surgery [UPDATED]" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "Rizzo thought Gonzalez looked fine during the start. The GM noticed that Gonzalez's velocity and spin rate on his pitches were normal, but his command wasn't right." - "Washington Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez placed on disabled list with left shoulder inflammation" - Bill Ladson, News

• "Really, this is an excuse to run this photo. In the first inning Sunday, Moore made a tremendous diving catch in foul ground." - "Just look at this picture of Tyler Moore" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "The Nationals need Ramos, who missed more than a month with a broken bone in his left hand, now more than ever." - "Wilson Ramos picking up injury-depleted Washington Nationals" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "Storen has a 1.26 ERA through 17 outings this year, and he's allowed just eight baserunners in his 14 1/3 innings, with 15 strikeouts." - "Nationals Pastime: Improved changeup a key to Storen's success" - Dan Kolko,

• "In just 43 games, they’ve broken thumbs and wrists, torn ligaments and strained lats, gotten concussed and cussed at their quads." - "It’s not how they planned it, but Nationals are persevering through their rash of injuries" - Thomas Boswell, The Washington Post

• "Is it any wonder the Nationals exude confidence right now when their relievers take over a game?" - "Dominant bullpen has been key to Washington Nationals’ success" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "On Sunday, in only his eighth game since returning from injury, Ramos had a big day at the plate against those very same Mets." - "Ramos' request to play on Sunday pays big dividends for Nats" - Byron Kerr,

• "Ramos had come off the disabled list a little more than a week ago because of a broken hamate bone in his left wrist and finally found his stroke against Mets right-hander Zack Wheeler." - "New York Mets at Washington Nationals - May 18, 2014" - Bill Ladson, WSH Recap

• "The Reds might be underachieving so far this season, but they bring one of the best rotations in the majors to Washington." - "Nationals Buzz: Opposite dugout: Reds rotation looks to carry underachieving squad past Nats" - Josh Land,

• "After the Nationals play three against the Reds to begin this week, they will head to Pittsburgh to play the struggling Pirates." - "State of the Nats: Still staying afloat" - Chase Hughes, Nats Insider

• "Instead of playing for a minor league club, Dobbs was able to get six or seven at bats per day in extending spring training games against Washington minor leaguers." - "Greg Dobbs Brings More Depth To Nationals' Bench" - David Driver, Pressbox DC

• Your Daily Message from the Dalai Lama on Twitter (@DalaiLama):


• "Ramos said that for Strasburg's next start, he will be wearing stickers on his fingers to be sure the right-hander can see the signals." - "Cincinnati Reds at Washington Nationals - May 19, 2014" - Manny Randhawa, Preview

• "Strasburg is obviously the pitcher expected to produce the highest point total today." - "Daily Fantasy Strategy — May 19 — For Draftstreet" - Brett Talley, FanGraphs Fantasy Baseball

• "When the Mets needed their 23-year old pitching prospect to come up big, he came up with another dud." - "Struggling Zack Wheeler, Mets fall, 6-3, to Nationals" - Brian A. Giuffra,

• "Ah, the belly bump. When executed correctly, it's a perfectly acceptable way to celebrate after your team makes a big play." - "Nationals Fans Fail Miserably At Celebratory Belly Bump (Video)" - Zack Cox,

• "The learning curve is steep. Not that Zack Wheeler didn't already understand." - "Zack Wheeler, Mets unable to slow down Wilson Ramos in loss to Nationals" - Marc Carig, Newsday

• "'It's been a bunch of bad starts in a row here,' Wheeler said after allowing five runs (three earned) in six innings as the Mets lost to the Washington Nationals, 6-3, Sunday." - "Zack: 'I need to hurry up and turn it around'" - Adam Rubin, Mets Blog - ESPN New York

• "The Mets spent spring training trying to play down the expectations for Zack Wheeler in his first full season." - "Mets' Wheeler Improves, but Not Enough" - Jared Diamond,

• "Chipper Jones may have walked off into the sunset. But the Mets face no shortage of fresh tormentors, such as catcher Wilson Ramos..." - "Wilson Ramos is the new Mets killer" - Marc Carig, Newsday


• "Monday’s News & Notes" - Luke Erickson,

• "Left fielder Isaac Ballou began the long ball assault with a solo homerun in the first to put the Suns up 1-0." - "Suns split double-header with Lakewood, win series" - Eli Pearlstein, Hagerstown Suns News

• "Nationals RHP Blake Schwartz threw 20 pitches in the opening frame with 12 in the strike zone in his first start after being assigned to Potomac from Double-A Harrisburg Senators." - "P-Nats Earn Series Split with 4-2 Victory Over Pelicans" - Potomac Nationals News

• "A.J. Cole Named Eastern League Pitcher of the Week" - Luke Erickson,

• "Several folks have asked about Hood since he was promoted from Harrisburg three weeks ago, and the news is good." - "Which ex-Harrisburg pitcher was described as having 'calm countenances' on his new team's website? Senators/Nationals organizational glance" - Geoff Morrow,

• "At 6-3, 210, Taylor isn't your prototypical bulky power hitter. But he's cranked some shots this year..." - "Michael Taylor, with some crazy power numbers, again nets Harrisburg Senators Player of the Week honors" - Geoff Morrow,

• "The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, fell to the Columbus Clippers for the second day in a row, 8-3, on Sunday afternoon." - "Clippers beat Rhymes, Chiefs on Sunday" - Syracuse Chiefs News


• "Videobombing Friday’s baseball game wasn’t the only reason for Dudley’s trip to the District last week." - "Jungle Bird freed after Nationals Park protest, night in jail" - Scott Allen, DC Sports Bog

• "Monday Quickie - Down goes Gio" - Harper, Nationals Baseball

• "Reds first baseman Joey Votto is listed as day-to-day on the team’s May 18th injury report." - "Washington Nationals: Series Preview vs Cincinnati Reds" - Brian Skinnell, District Sports Page

• "'It was one of those games,'" Werth began. "'We got the W, that’s the most important thing. And we’re back here tomorrow to play again. And good for you, Dan Kolko! You go, Dan Kolko!'" - "Jayson Werth ‘Mean Girls’ Reference Awesome! Watch Video Of Washington Nationals Star Spoofing Glen Coco Quote With Dan Kolko (VIDEO)" - Melissa Siegel, LaughSpin

• "Somehow, I hadn’t made it to a Nats game since Opening Day, but I was finally there on Sunday, intent on getting a video of the video." - "Nationals teach ballpark etiquette with Rickrolling video" - Dan Steinberg, DC Sports Bog

• "Despite Ramos’ knockout performance, Williams maintained that his swing is still just close to its full potential." - "Ramos, Desmond Tremendous In Nats’ Victory Over Mets" - Erin Flynn, The Nats Blog


Phillies: "It’s also been very interesting to hear Michael Jack talk about the Phillies current young third baseman in Cody Asche." - "Cody Asche has Mike Schmidt in his hot corner" - Enrico Campitelli, Jr., The700Level

Marlins: "A by-the-numbers look at the Miami Marlins 4-7 road trip through San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco..." - "Miami Marlins' 4-7 California road trip by the numbers" - Juan C. Rodriguez, Sun Sentinel

Braves: "B.J. Upton didn’t start Sunday, thereby denying him the chance to pad his major-league-leading strikeout total, which is holding at 56." - "How can the Braves spike this punchless offense?" - Mark Bradley, Atlanta Journal-Constitution