Jun 25, 2015, 12:00 AM EDT
Ian Desmond knows one swing will not solve all of his problems and break him out of his worst offensive funk in years. After all, it wasn’t even a hit.
But given the circumstances surrounding the night, his slump and the team, Desmond’s walkoff sac fly to beat the Braves on Wednesday sure seems like it was just what he needed.
Time will tell of course, but Desmond had driven in just three runs in his previous 21 games. He had just four hits in his last 41 at-bats.
“It helps. It’s been a while since he felt like he contributed, so tonight he did that in a big way,” manager Matt Williams said. “So that’ll help. It helps relax, it helps calm, it helps see the ball, all those things. So it was a good at-bat by him. Nice to see him come through for us there.”
“Extremely happy [for him]. He’s been in a little bit of a slump lately,” Jordan Zimmermann said. “Hopefully, this gets him out of it and he’ll come back tomorrow and get a few hits.”
Desmond wouldn’t give himself much credit for the sac fly, as he knows that alone won’t set him free.
“It felt good to win,” he said. “It felt good to drive a run in there. We still got a lot of time to play.”
Desmond, though, did take issue with the notion he hasn’t been contributing despite his slumber at the plate and troubles in the field.
“Contribute? I won’t take that. Whether I get hits, or whatever, I feel like I bring something to the team every day. I feel like I contribute. The box score may not say that. I know what I bring to the team,” he said.
“I try to be a professional and handle my business the right way. I try to get better every day, whether I’m doing well or I’m doing terrible. I still try to come to the ballpark and contribute to the team and to win.”
Desmond feels he brings value to the Nationals by the example he sets, and he’s not the only one saying it.
“It’s great for him. He’s come to the ballpark every day. He hasn’t hung his head,” Clint Robinson said.
“Whatever struggles he’s going through, whatever is being said off the field about him by everybody, he hasn’t listened to it. He still comes here and is the same person every day. He’s a great example for anybody who is watching for how to conduct yourself as a professional. He’s the gold standard in my opinion. To see him come up in that situation and come through, I’m very very happy for him.”
Desmond came up big for the Nationals despite playing with a heavy heart. The Nats are mourning the loss of bench coach Randy Knorr’s wife, Kimberly, who passed away on Wednesday at the age of 45. Knorr was Desmond’s first professional manager back in 2005 with the Low-A Savannah Sand Gnats.
Desmond fought back tears during his postgame interview when asked about Knorr, who is currently away from the team to be with family.
“I can’t say, words can’t describe it. This guy has been there for me since I was 18. We’ve been through a lot together. That was awesome, but… I mean, I’d do anything to be able to go and give him a hug,” he said.
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ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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