Nationals’ shortstop Ian Desmond was back to batting in the second hole after hitting ninth Thursday. Desmond’s timely hitting, speed on the bases and crafty glove helped guide Washington to an 8-4 win in their series opener against the Baltimore Orioles at Nationals Park.
Desmond had two hits, two stolen bases, a run and two RBIs in his final three at-bats as the Nationals came back from an early 2-0 deficit to beat the Birds.
Even with Desmond batting all over the lineup, he feels the biggest change at the top has made the difference during their season-long seven game win streak.
“I really think the lineup change has affected all of us. I think a lot of the credit has to be given to (Jim) Riggleman and Jayson (Werth) for accepting it. That has been really big for us because (Werth) is up there seeing a lot of pitches to start the game. It really has turned the lineup around nicely.”
Another facet of Desmond’s game is his speed on the bases. With so much success this year, the offense is feeding off of how aggressive he is being on the base paths.
Last year, Desmond tallied 17 stolen bases in 154 games. In 64 games so far in 2011, Desmond already has career-high 20 thefts.
The Nationals stole three bases off of Orioles catcher Matt Wieters Friday, two of those by Desmond.
“Wieters does a great job,” Desmond said. “I played against him in the minor leagues. He used to throw out everybody. I can’t put my finger on it. We are just trying to get the best jumps we can and take off.”
During this week of wins, the Nationals are now winning games because of their offense.
In the first three games of this win streak, the Nationals scored six total runs. In the last four games, the Nationals have scored 33 runs.
On paper, it looks like a major jump in the offense. But, Desmond said they have felt they could do this all the way back in March.
“All along we knew we had a great group of guys,” Desmond said. “We all said we were going to hit, play defense and our pitching was going to be our pitching. We always believed and we have to keep on believing. It is not what other people think.”