Desmond and Clippard on what went wrong in the eighth inning

Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond committed two errors in the Angels’ decisive four-run rally in the eighth inning, leading to a 4-2 loss Monday night.

Desmond’s first error occurred when he bobbled a grounder near the bag at second which allowed Albert Pujols to reach base. With two outs, pinch-hitter Raul Ibanez slapped a game-changing three-run double, and Desmond picked up another error on an errant throw.

“I feel bad, obviously, but what are going to do? keep on playing, I guess,” Desmond said quietly.

“(I am) not making the plays. I wish I had an answer.”

Desmond was asked if the Pujols grounder was tough to get to.

“I am a big league shortstop,” Desmond said. “Not that tough.”

With nine errors in just 20 games to start the season, Desmond said he draws on past experiences to cope with his slow start defensively.

“Of course, you use everything in the past to make yourself better,” Desmond said. “This is going to be one of those circumstances. Just got to weather the storm.

“I feel like I am showing signs for myself that I am getting out of it. Two hundred feet away from home plate on the second (error), probably should just put the ball in my pocket. But fortunately, that guy didn’t come around and score. More unfortunately, (the first error) hurt us.”

Desmond felt like he didn’t give Tyler Clippard much of a chance in that inning.

“I didn’t help him at all,” Desmond said. “That is what I am most mad about. He made a good pitch and did his job and I wasn’t able to help him out.”

Clippard allowed four runs in the eighth, but none of them were earned. He was disappointed he couldn’t hold Tanner Roark’s 1-0 lead and get Roark the win.

“Very frustrating,” Clippard said. “Tanner pitched a hell of a game. We scraped one across. We were in the position we wanted to be in in the eighth, so, yeah, very frustrating.”

Ibanez hit a changeup for the three-run double. Clippard thought he had set up Ibanez because he usually goes after fastballs.

“It was a good changeup,” Clippard said. “First one was pretty much in the same exact spot, swung through it. He is a guy that traditionally hunts fastballs and I knew that. I felt like I made a good pitch there. I will have to go back and look at it I don’t know if there was something where I was tipping or you just got to tip your cap to him, because he made a good swing.

“Those things happen. The biggest thing that hurt me was the walk to (Chris) Iannetta and the pitch to (Erick) Aybar, I wasn’t real happy with that decision. Obviously, I wanted the fastball away. Probably wasn’t the right pitch selection, I pulled it and it was right down the middle and he got a base hit. I had numerous opportunities to get out of that inning and it didn’t happen.”

Clippard said he likes going to the changeup in those situations and won’t shy away from using it again even with the result he got Monday night.

“I still think I am getting bad swings on it,” Clippard said. “Tonight, I got (Albert) Pujols to roll one over, same thing with (Howie) Kendrick. (Brennan) Boesch, I got him to pop out to shortstop. They are still not taking real good swings on it. It is a pitch I am getting hurt with, but it is a pitch I throw a lot. So that is just how it goes. There is nothing really there right now. I feel good with what I am doing and all my pitches.”

Despite a 1-2 record, Clippard’s ERA actually dropped to 3.72 from 4.00, and he feels like he knows what to do to change things.

“I feel like I am good, I still feel like I am throwing the ball pretty well. It is just a tick off,” Clippard said. “Some poorer pitch selections here and there, but overall I still feel confident and good about what I am doing.”

He is also happy that manager Matt Williams still goes to him in the eighth inning.

“Absolutely, you want your manager to have faith in you,” Clippard said. “I think from my perspective, I know who I am. It is good to hear that he has confidence in me, but it is not necessarily something I need. I am going to go out there and do my job at the end of the day, whether it is the ninth of the first inning, I will be fine.”

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