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Williams on Desmond’s day off

Aug 5, 2015, 5:47 PM EST

Photo by USA Today

Ian Desmond is out of the Nationals’ lineup for Wednesday night’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, as manager Matt Williams gives him a day to rest. The skipper described it as just one day off and that it does not mean Danny Espinosa has supplanted him as the team’s shortstop.

Desmond has had well-documented struggles this season and Williams thinks a day to clear his head could be beneficial.

“We want to put the best lineup out there every single day, but there are times when guys need a break, too,” Williams explained. “It’s not saying that he won’t be in the lineup tomorrow, but for today he’s getting rest.”

Desmond went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in the team’s win on Tuesday night and has only three hits in his last six games, a span of 23 at-bats.

“I see it in Desi’s face when he comes back to the dugout and it hasn’t gone well,” Williams said. “There is a grind there and there’s no fix… except support, rest if you can, work. Sometimes you just gotta give them a day and today’s that day for Des.”

Desmond is batting just .214/.261/.354 with 11 homers and 34 RBI in 102 games this season. Espinosa is hitting .249/.320/.411 with 10 home runs and 29 RBI in 89 games. He has appeared in just three of the Nationals’ 10 games since Anthony Rendon returned off the disabled list.

Getting Espinosa at-bats has become a challenge for the Nats and giving Desmond a day off helps that cause.

“It gets Danny an opportunity to get back in the lineup. As we’ve spoken about the last few days anyway, we’d like to get him in there. We’re not thinking about tomorrow at this point,” Williams said.

  1. UncleAtom - Aug 5, 2015 at 6:20 PM

    Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow, Matt.

  2. texnat1 - Aug 5, 2015 at 6:20 PM

    Reading between the lines, that was pretty non-committal. Certainly didn’t some out and say that Desi will be back tomorrow and will remain the starter.

  3. cerberusbybriartek - Aug 5, 2015 at 6:50 PM

    Free Danny!

  4. robertrobert104 - Aug 5, 2015 at 7:09 PM

    Well, for all I care, he can remain on the bench for the whole month….He does not help the club with non existant bats presence and questionable defense… And since Desmond won’t be back next year, why not put him on waivers and see what might happens? Trades in august seems to be Rizzo’s thing, so….
    Anyway, hopefully, tonight’s game will get us a win and Mets will lose…

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 5, 2015 at 7:18 PM

      It’s called Selling Low. Not a good plan.

      Desmond may get sorted, or maybe he won’t. But he has a history of getting better in the latter half, and if you dump him, you can’t possibly get that.

      • Nats Fan Zee - Aug 5, 2015 at 8:39 PM

        2/3 of the season is in the books. He is a 1/3 through his second half!

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 5, 2015 at 8:58 PM

        That’s true.

    • Karl Kolchak - Aug 5, 2015 at 11:59 PM

      Nice idea, but who is going to trade more than a bag of baseballs for Ian right now?

      He could probably really use a change of scenery as a last ditch chance to save his contract season, but he isn’t going to get it.

  5. lphboston - Aug 5, 2015 at 7:20 PM

    Pretty bad when the guy replacing you is hitting .249.

    As per usual, Williams went way too long with this guy. Desmond gambled on himself in his walk year, and lost big-time. Wonder if Turner will get the callup on Sept. 1 so we can see what the future will look like.

  6. 3on2out - Aug 5, 2015 at 7:57 PM

    Wally Pipp?

  7. scmargenau - Aug 5, 2015 at 9:29 PM

    This is how clueless MW is. When asked to justify Ian’s play (junkies) he trotted out the usual 3 time silver slugger banter and added that he’s batting 300 since the all star break.

    Wrong. He’s batting 234 – for a manager to be so unaware on arguably the biggest team liability…and announce his ignorance on the radio, is just mind blowing.

    • Karl Kolchak - Aug 5, 2015 at 11:58 PM

      Wow–THAT is scary. If the Nats do miss the playoffs this year, I don’t see how they can bring Williams back. He is just lousy is all aspects of managing.

  8. destcl - Aug 6, 2015 at 12:15 AM

    Only a manager as reality averse as Matt Williams could imply that playing Danny Espinosa in Ian Desmond’s place constitutes NOT “put[ting] the best lineup out there.”

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