Desmond doing it big of late

Maybe the Nationals should start using Ross Ohlendorf and Ross Detwiler as some kind of new tag-team when they start slumping or get in trouble.

You drop below .500 and need a couple wins? Call on the Rosses.

Detwiler might not have picked up a win yesterday in the Nationals’ series finale in Colorado, but he did his job in his first start back off the disabled list, allowing three runs over five innings.

The Nats’ bats then woke up late, with Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond each delivering an RBI in the eighth inning to give the Nats a lead and allow them to win their first road series in more than five weeks.

It might go unnoticed throughout much of Major League Baseball, largely because the Nats have a few big names on the offensive side in Bryce Harper, Zimmerman, Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche, but Desmond has really turned things on lately after a rough start to the season.

Desmond, who was selected as an All-Star last season for the first time in his career, now has a 15-game hit streak, and he’s come up with a number of big hits during that time.

Yesterday, he went 4-for-4, with his infield single in the eighth providing a big insurance run, and after the Rockies plated a run in the ninth off Rafael Soriano to make it a 5-4 game, Desmond’s RBI became the game-winner.

Over his 15-game hitting streak, Desmond is batting .404 (23-for-57) with two home runs, four doubles and 12 RBIs.

On the season, Desmond’s average is now up to .293, rising nearly 40 points in this 15-game span. He has eight homers, and is tied with Zimmerman with 32 RBIs for the team lead.

Desmond ranks third among major league shortstops in RBIs, and is third in slugging percentage and fourth in OPS.

His seven errors have him tied for second-most among major league shortstops, but after a really rough few weeks to start the season, Desmond has been tremendous defensively of late.

He’s now gone 46 straight games without committing an error, and has made a number of spectacular plays in the last week or two.

desmond-looking-out-from-dugout-sidebar.jpgDesmond’s turn of a rare 5-6-3 double play in last Saturday’s win over the Twins still sticks out in my mind - a play that is so tough to turn for a shortstop because he’s not used to taking a throw from the left side of the infield and having a runner come in on him blindly - and his attempt at a leaping throw in the hole later in that inning was just as remarkable, even if Joe Mauer beat out the play by half a step.

The Nationals have desperately been searching for some consistency from their stars this season. Harper and Werth have battled injuries. Zimmerman and LaRoche have been up and down. The second base situation has been a bit of a mess.

But Desmond has risen to the occasion the last handful of weeks, bouncing back after a rough start to 2013 and showing that he might be worthy of yet another All-Star appearance.

If Desmond makes it this time around, hopefully he’ll be able to attend (an oblique injury held him out of the festivities last year), and give those outside of the D.C. area a look at what he’s able to do on a day-to-day basis when he’s clicking.

A quick note: I’m going to be out of town through the weekend, but the staff will have you covered in my absence. Be sure to check out the homepage for all Nats news and notes while I’m away, and I’ll be back Monday morning, ready to pick things up from Philly for the Nats’ three-game series against their division rival.

Update: An errorless game Friday night in Cleveland pushed Desmond’s error-free streak to 47 games.

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