PHILADELPHIA - Last season, in 154 games, Ian Desmond hit eight home runs. In 2010, also in the span of 154 games, Desmond jacked 10 homers.
This season, in just 41 games, the Nationals' shortstop already has seven home runs, tied with Adam LaRoche for most on the team.
What's the reason for his newfound power stroke? Possibly his baby boy.
"I think daddy strength," Desmond said. "They say when you have a kid, you get stronger. Thanks, Grayson."
Desmond delivered his seventh longball of the season in the second inning of today's game, a laser that traveled on a line over the center-field fence. It gave the Nats a 1-0 lead, an advantage they'd never relinquish.
"I've never been a home run hitter at any point in my life, and I don't think I am now," Desmond said. "I'm just trying to hit the ball, and I'm getting lucky I guess."
The homer was the first of two RBIs Desmond provided on the day; his RBI single in the fourth brought in Bryce Harper with the eventual game-winning run. Desmond now has 20 RBIs on the season.
"Ian is (an) awful strong and awful talented shortstop," manager Davey Johnson said. "When he connects, he's got as much power on this ballclub as anybody. He had a great ballgame."
Meanwhile, X-rays taken on reliever Ryan Mattheus' left foot earlier today came back negative. Mattheus said he's suffering from plantar fasciitis (inflammation on the arch of the foot) and will go see a foot specialist in Baltimore tomorrow to get a better idea of how severe the injury is.
He said the worst-case scenario is that he'll be out for two weeks. Best-case scenario has Mattheus on the mound at Citizens Bank Park tomorrow night.
"When I plant on that foot and push off, the arch of your foot stretches," Mattheus said. "That's when I get a little soreness.
"If it's something that I'm not injuring further, I'll come right back here and try to get in there tomorrow night."