We're about a half-hour away from game time at Nationals Park, and the crowd walking down Half Street from the Navy Yard Metro stop is the biggest I've seen in quite a while. On Nats-Phillies days, that usually means one thing. This just feels like it's going to be a, shall we say, eventful day at the ballpark.
Anyway, two more quick notes for you before the game:
* Ian Desmond is out of the lineup today, getting a day off to rest some "aches and pains," manager Jim Riggleman said. Desmond has played 47 of the Nationals' 52 games, starting 46 of them. "He and (Danny) Espinosa have played a lot of baseball to this point," Riggleman said. "The pace that I have them on, I want them both to end up with 500-plus at-bats. But that doesn't mean you play 162 games."
* Doug Slaten has allowed 12 of 24 inherited runners to score this season, and gave up a run on a double to Chase Headley in Sunday's 5-4 loss to the Padres. But Riggleman said Slaten will continue to get work as a left-handed specialist. "I looked at it - I didn't scrutinize it too closely - but I think he made a good pitch there," Riggleman said. "It looked like a breaking ball that had good depth to it, and he just went down and got it. It found the line, and it's another inherited runner scored. But I can't question anything about the quality of the pitch."