Washington Nationals Rapid Reaction: Ian Desmond, Yunel Escobar Bright Spots in Nats Loss

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Jul 23, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Washington Nationals left fielder Clint Robinson (25) greets shortstop Ian Desmond (20) after Desmond hit a two run home run against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the ninth inning at PNC Park. The Pirates won 7-3. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Ian Desmond Rebound Continues

Ian Desmond was nothing short of terrible in the first half of the season. In addition to piling up an absurd number of errors, he also stunk at the plate, hitting .211/.255/.334 prior to the All Star break. He was an unmitigated disaster, looking nothing like the best shortstop in the National League that he had been in nearly every season prior to this one.

Since the break, though, Desmond is starting to look like his old self, particularly swinging the bat. He’s slowly starting to put good plate appearances together, back-to-back. At a time when the Nationals offense seems to be stuck in the mud, his resurgence is one of the few bright spots on a team that’s dropped five of their eight games since coming out of the Midsummer Classic.

That was very apparent on Friday night. With the Nationals trailing 5-4 after Max Scherzer, in the midst of one of his worst starts of the season, had allowed the Pirates to retake the lead, Desmond stepped to the plate. But rather than strike out, Desmond blasted a solo shot to center field that tied the game and gave the Nationals new life.

While the Nationals failed to capitalize on Desmond’s heroics, the fact remains that Desmond is finally starting to come around at the plate, and it couldn’t come at a more opportune time. If Desmond can simply manage to get back to his career average of .268, it’ll go a long ways to getting the Nats back on track to winning the division.

Next: Yunel Escobar Makes a Brief Appearance