Things got so bad for Washington Nationals' shortstop Ian Desmond this weekend, that his teammates were being asked if they felt bad for the 29-year-old infielder, who made his 8th error of the season on Saturday afternoon.
Philadelphia rallied after the E:6, scoring two runs, one of them when Desmond dropped the ball on the exchange while attempting to turn a double play. That was, luckily for Desmond, not no.9 since you "can't assume a double play" in baseball.
Nats' starter Jordan Zimmermann said after the game that he felt bad for Desmond, whose frustration with his own recent defensive issues was evident.
"Obviously I feel for the guy," Zimmermann said. "Everyone thinks it's so easy to go out there and play that position. He's getting some balls hit at him and he's just not making the plays right now, but he's going to come around just like everyone else and we'll be fine."
"He feels horrible about it," Matt Williams assured reporters. "So, we support him. We work and there's no substitute for that. So he's out there every day and we rely on him a lot. He'll keep going like he always does."
Desmond avoided any misplays on Sunday, in a 4-1 Nationals' win, and he continued the hit streak he's quietly put together while his defensive struggles have made headlines.
Over the course of the streak, and after a 2 for 4 day at the plate in the series finale in D.C., Desmond is 13 for 25 with a home run and two doubles, leaving him with a .314/.375/.451 line after 13 games.
"I just think he's swinging at strikes and he's disciplined up there," Williams explained, when asked about the part of Desmond's game that's on track right now.
"He's hit some balls to his pull side, which is important for him to do, to be aggressive in that regard. I don't think he's changed anything, I just think he's recognizing well and laying the bat on it. It's good."
Not good enough to make people forget about the errors right now, but still good.
News on Span's return. An update on Yunel Escobar and more. It's time for the links and lots of them, starting... RIGHT NOW!!
• NATS BEAT: Span's return; Escobar's MRI; Zimmerman's "Pence" + more
Denard Span stories:
• "Span also acknowledged his teammates and the fans for giving him a welcoming boost." - "Span on his return: 'Today was my opening day'" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com
Just an all around great day. So happy to be back to doing what I love. Thanks to my teammates and of course the fans for the warm welcome— Denard Span (@thisisdspan) April 19, 2015
• "In his first game back, Span went 1-for-5 and scored all the way from first base on a double from Ian Desmond." - "Span motors home from first in DL return; Taylor optioned" - nationals.com
• "Taylor’s audition is over — for now — as he was sent down to Triple-A Syracuse before Sunday’s game vs. the Phillies with Span returning from disabled list." - "Taylor hopes to develop consistency at Triple-A Syracuse" - Daniel Shiferaw, Nats Insider
• "A familiar face walked into the Washington Nationals’ clubhouse Saturday morning, smiling as he strolled toward the far end of the room." - "Denard Span's return is a step toward normalcy for the Nationals" - Tom Schad, Washington Times
Today in 'Aww' - Span on his teammates: "You could just tell, the glow in their face, it was genuine, happy to see me back. It means a lot."— Andrew Simon (@AndrewSimonMLB) April 19, 2015
Stephen Strasburg's big Sunday:
• "Stephen Strasburg looked like his old self as he pitched his best game of the season — 'as good as I’ve seen him,' Manager Matt Williams said." - "With Span back and Strasburg sharp, Nationals look like they’d expected in 4-1 win" - Chelsea Janes, The Washington Post
• "Strasburg was the antithesis of what he was on Tuesday against the Red Sox." - "Strasburg strong-arms Phillies for his first win" - Bill Ladson and Ben Standig, nationals.com
• "The former No. 1 overall pick had better command than he showed in his first two outings of 2015, particularly with his changeup." - "Strasburg’s changeup key in Sunday’s gem vs. Phillies" - Chase Hughes, Nats Insider
• "Strasburg worked quickly and was ahead of the Phillies all day as he continued to pressure them with his entire repertoire." - "Nationals Pastime: Strasburg impresses Williams, teammates in Nats' win" - Chris Johnson, MASNSports.com
• "Strasburg said his changeup was the reason for his solid outing against Philadelphia." - "Changeup command fuels Strasburg's dominant outing" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com
• "He retired the first 14 batters he faced and needed only 32 pitches through the first four innings in an impressive display of efficiency." - "Nats 4, Phillies 1: Strasburg dazzles in Span’s return" - Chase Hughes, Nats Insider
Zimmerman's broken bat redirection:
• "Ryan Zimmerman has built a pretty successful Major League career hitting a baseball the boring, old-fashioned way -- once per swing. " - "Looking to boost average, Ryan Zimmerman hits ball twice ... in one swing" - Andrew Simon, MLB.com
• "The ball hit the skinny part of Zimmerman’s bat and deflected back up the bat, bouncing off the barrel before it headed to center field." - "Ryan Zimmerman hits the ball twice on one hit, Danny Espinosa stands out at third" - Chelsea Janes, The Washington Post
Good news, everyone!:
• "The Nationals have a day off on Monday, and the team is hoping that Escobar will be back in the starting lineup against the Cardinals on Tuesday." - "Escobar targeting Tuesday return from groin strain" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com
Yunel Escobar's MRI results were good, Matt Williams says. No tear. Escobar is working out on the field & will hit today. Close to returning— Dan Kolko (@masnKolko) April 19, 2015
• "The Nationals received good news, for now, about Yunel Escobar. He said an MRI exam showed that he had groin muscle inflammation and there was no tear." - "Yunel Escobar hopes to return Tuesday from groin strain" - James Wagner, The Washington Post
NATIONAL(S) BEAT: St. Louis in D.C.:
Nationals vs Cards:
• "Cards left fielder Matt Holliday will enter the series riding an 11-game hitting streak." - "St. Louis Cardinals at Washington Nationals - April 21, 2015" - Jenifer Langosch, MLB.com Preview
• "Washington finally won its first series this weekend, pulling the club to within one game of .500. The Cardinals, on the other hand, haven't lost a series all year." - "St. Louis Cardinals at Washington Nationals - April 21, 2015" - Jenifer Langosch, MLB.com Preview
• "[T]he St. Louis manager was asked if there was a 'collective rotation pride' with his group of starters, as it relates to how 'people talk about what the Nationals have.' Matheny had some thoughts, of course." - "Cardinals starters thriving with 'a little bit of a chip on their shoulder'" - Ryan Fagan, Sporting News
• "And there was the guy in the Expos hat and old branding Washington Nationals Jose Vidro jersey, a player Jonah Keri once called 'the best second baseman in Expos history by a wide margin.'" - "Four years of Grantland, ESPN’s long-form experiment" - Noah Frank, WTOP
• "The Post’s Tom Boswell was the only writer inducted Sunday. Boswell has written for the Post for more than four decades, becoming one of the most beloved baseball writers." - "Tom Boswell, Gary Williams among those inducted into D.C. Sports Hall of Fame Sunday at Nationals Park" - Chelsea Janes, The Washington Post
We're honored to host the 2015 DC Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony today. Congratulations to all new members! pic.twitter.com/uhwdIPysw8— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) April 19, 2015
• "Right-hander Rafael Martin made his Major League debut on Wednesday in impressive fashion: striking out five consecutive Red Sox batters in two scoreless innings of work." - "Getting to know Rafael Martin w/ Charlie Slowes" - Curly W Live
• "At Nationals Park in the southeast part of the capital, it’s not just the ball field that’s green." - "Going green in Washington, D.C." - Brooke Sabin, savannahnow.com
• Low-A Hagerstown: "The Hagerstown Suns (5-5) took a number of potential hits away with some superb defense Sunday afternoon, helping Hagerstown notch its second shutout of the season..." - "Suns notch shutout win to take series over BlueClaws" - Eli Pearlstein, Hagerstown Suns News
• High-A Potomac: "The Potomac Nationals (6-5 Overall, 3-1 Road) had their sweep hopes spoiled by the Lynchburg Hillcats (3-8 Overall, 1-3 Home)...." - "Potomac Nationals Series Game Four Recap at Lynchburg Hillcats" - Potomac Nationals News
• Triple-A Syracuse: "The Syracuse Chiefs got back one of the organization's brightest prospects on Sunday when the Washington Nationals returned outfielder Michael Taylor to Triple-A." - "Washington Nationals return outfielder Michael Taylor to the Syracuse Chiefs" - Lindsay Kramer, syracuse.com
NL EAST UPDATES: Buchanan's outing; Redmond?; Miller rolling
• Phillies: "Much of David Buchanan's success is predicated on his keeping his pitches down and on either corner of the strike zone." - "Phillies Notes: David Buchanan encouraged by outing against Nationals" - Jake Kaplan, Philadelphia Inquirer
Keeping my fingers crossed for this https://t.co/TyhhoTnVFP— Jerry Blevins (@JerryBlevins_13) April 19, 2015
• Mets: "The Miami Herald is reporting that Marlins manager Mike Redmond may be in jeopardy of losing his job..." - "Wally Backman candidate if Marlins fire Mike Redmond: report" - NY Daily News
• Marlns: "According to sources who have heard rumblings, Redmond is on the hot seat and the the organization is already bouncing around possible replacements." - "Is Mike Redmond on the hot seat?" - Clark Spencer, Fish Bytes
• Braves: "Miller credited a more complete pitch repertoire to his latest success against the Blue Jays, even if he had even better results the last time." - "Miller has repeat success in Toronto, keeps rolling in '15" - Jamie Ross, braves.com