There have only been two cycles in Nationals history. Brad Wilkerson and Cristian Guzman delivered those, and Wilkerson's wasn't even the main story that day, because it came in the first Nationals win after the team relocated to D.C.
Ian Desmond had a shot to join that club today, as he delivered a single, home run and double in his first three at-bats of the night. He ended up falling a triple short of his first professional cycle, with a groundout to short in the eighth marking the lone blemish on his batting line tonight.
Wonder whether Desmond stepped into the box in the bottom of the eighth knowing he needed a triple for the cycle? The answer, Desmond acknowledged, is yes.
"Yeah, but, I mean, third's a long way away," Desmond said with a smile. "Those kind of things just happen. You can't really try to do it. Obviously I wanted to put the barrel on the ball, but you can't aim. I did know it was out there."
As hitting accomplishments go, Desmond said doesn't view the cycle as anything all that impressive. It seems to be viewed by most guys as a cool accomplishment but more of a fluke thing than something based on skill.
"If I end my career without one, I'm not going to be upset," Desmond said.
Manager Davey Johnson revealed that Desmond had noticed himself subconsciously moving up in the box recently, and he corrected that issue today.
"Sometimes you've got to make stuff up to make the manager happy," Desmond joked. "Make him believe in you still. But, no, it's minor adjustments, things like that. That might have had some impact on it. But just the way the game was going tonight, it seemed like everyone was hitting barrels. Hitting is contagious. Once one guy gets going, everyone kind of feeds off that. So it was a good night."
Desmond notched his 500th hit today, but for a guy who cares far more about team accomplishments than he does individual stats, that didn't mean much to him, either.
"Obviously, God has blessed me with the ability to play this game," he said. "So obviously I'm very fortunate for that. As far as, whatever, 500 hits, whatever it may be, just going out there playing, trying to win. It seems like every year I've been here, we've gotten a little bit better. That's all you can really ask for as a player."
While Desmond was able to pile up the offensive numbers today, Jayson Werth has gone the last eight days without being able to do the same. Werth will almost certainly land on the disabled list tomorrow with a slight strain in his right hamstring.
The Nationals can make the DL stint retroactive to May 3, meaning that Werth will be able to be activated May 18. That still doesn't lessen the frustration much for Werth, who has felt all along that he's been close to returning to action only to see the hamstring continue to cramp up at inopportune times.
"It's one of those things I feel bad the team has been playing with 24 guys for over a week now," Werth said. "We feel like we're close and I feel like it's really not that severe. But it's one of those things you go out there with the way it is and you might make it severe pretty quickly. Erring on the side of caution but at the same time at this point I think it's necessary. Fortunately it'll only be another seven days. Hopefully I can come off after the 15 days.
"The most frustrating thing about the whole thing is I feel pretty good. I was out there running the last couple days. I'm running good. It's just a little cramp there at times and cramps lead to bigger and worse injuries. Just being cautious and Davey is being cautious the whole time. He keeps saying he doesn't want to lose me so I think we're at the point we have to make the decision."
Eury Perez will come up from Triple-A Syracuse to fill Werth's spot on the roster. Werth doesn't plan on taking much time off to let the hamstring rest; he'll keep taking antibiotics to try and clear up a stomach bug he's been battling and continue to work on getting the hamstring back into playing shape.
"I kinda tested it again today," he said. "I'll probably test it again tomorrow. What I'd like to do is probably go play (in rehab games) for a couple days towards the end of the week and be ready to go by the time the fifteen days is up."