Don't look now, but Washington Nationals' shortstop Ian Desmond might actually be starting to heat up at the plate...
Of course, Desmond still has a .244/.295/.385 line on the year, which isn't too far off his career marks for the first months of the season, but the 29-year-old shortstop has a six-game hit streak going, home runs in each of the last two games, four doubles this month and a .278/.307/.458 line so far in May after a .217/.287/.326 April.
Desmond took a 98 mph 3-1 fastball from Yankees' starter Nathan Eovaldi out to right-center in the bottom of the first on Tuesday night for a line drive home run that cleared the National League section of the out-of-town scoreboard, then lined an RBI single to the left of center field off of shortstop Stephen Drew's glove for an RBI single in the fifth for his second hit of the night.
In the bottom of the first inning on Wednesday night, Desmond hit a 93 mph full-count fastball from right-hander Adam Warren over the center field wall for a 433 ft blast that cut New York's lead in half after the Yankees jumped out to a 2-0 lead early on Jordan Zimmermann.
The home run last night was Desmond's third in the last 65 plate appearances after he hit just one in his first 112 PAs to start the season.
After the first of those three home runs, a two-run shot to the batter's eye grass in center field in Nationals Park off Miami Marlins' reliever Bryan Morris back on May 4th that tied things up at 4-4 in the bottom of the eighth inning of what ended up a 6-4 Nats' win, Desmond joked about his approach on what ended up being a 439 ft blast.
"Just swing hard in case you hit it," Desmond said.
"I thought, 'Man, I hope it gets up.' I hit it good, but didn't know if it was high enough. It made it over."
Matt Williams said last night that all the power to center Desmond's shown in the last few weeks is a good sign.
"When Desi starts driving the ball to the middle of the diamond then he's seeing it better and he's staying on the baseball," Williams told reporters.
"So, nice to see that from him. He feels better about it over the last couple of days so hopefully he's making strides to get back to where he wants to be."
Perhaps more importantly, after the way he started the season with nine errors in the first 20 games, Desmond, as he's done in previous seasons, has cut down on the defensive miscues with just two errors in the last 21 games.
Last night's home run was another impressive blast, but it was also fun watching Desmond at short, where he made a few nice plays including this one:
Can Desmond finish strong in what could be his final campaign in the nation's capital?
The good news for whatever team he ends up playing for next year?
There's an established history of slow starts, so there won't be reason to begin to worry about another player slumping after signing a big contract until at least July...