Yes, his sometimes lackadaisical play at first base drives many fans crazy. But every now and again, Adam Dunn comes through with an effort that shows he's making strides defensively.
One of them occurred tonight when Florida's Cameron Maybin, leading off the fourth inning, hit a grounder to short. Ian Desmond fielded and threw to first. His throw sailed and just when it looked like the speedy Maybin might be safe, Dunn did two things he hasn't always done.
First, Dunn leaped to snag a high throw. Though he's a huge target at 6-foot-6, Dunn hasn't always displayed a propensity for going airborne, which wouldn't prevent an error but might prevent a runner from taking second on an errant throw.
Then he quickly slapped a tag on Maybin just before he hit first base. Dunn's used the slap tag to nab a runner before - sometimes in cases when he really didn't need to - but it was the quickness of this tag that was impressive. It showed Dunn was well aware of the situation and who the runner was.
Dunn said in spring training that he had committed to playing better defensively, mainly out of fear of embarrassing himself. He's nowhere near a Gold Glover, and probably never will be, but making the routine plays - and knowing when he has to push the envelope a little bit - is an encouraging sign.
Meanwhile, the Nats are down 2-0 to rookie right-hander Anabia Sanchez after four innings. Nyjer Morgan's third-inning single with two outs was their lone hit through the first four innings, though Morgan was quickly erased on an ill-advised stolen base attempt with John Lannan hitting. Michael Morse just led off the fifth with a double to left.