It did not take Ian Desmond long to put his 0-for-13 start behind him. Since he received a day off after the Nationals’ first three games, he is 7 for 19 with a walk. Saturday night, he drilled his first home run of the
year, a laser down the left field line on a slider by Chris Capuano. “It would have felt sweeter if we had won,” Desmond said. “It does feel good to get it out of the way.”
On that day off, there was no big swing change or mechanical adjustment. Desmond has been taking better at-bats and hitting more line drives, but nothing about his approach has changed.
“It was the first three games of the season,” Desmond said. “I was a little fast [with my swing] on opening day. The second day, I felt better. The third day, I felt good, but I faced [Tim Hudson] and he got me out. It was just early in the year. It’s not going to be the last time I go 0 for 13 in my career. I felt comfortable after the second game.”
l Manager Jim Riggleman had said he wanted to “be careful” with reliever Brian Broderick and not use him in any crucial situations. But tonight, Broderick made his second major league appearance in the sixth inning of a one-run game, with a runner on third base.
In a rare confluence of relievers needing rest, Riggleman wanted to stay away from Tyler Clippard, Drew Storen, Todd Coffey and Chad Gaudin, all of whom have either pitched or warmed up three straight days. Riggleman wanted to save Doug Slaten and Sean Burnett for later in the game, so Broderick was the only choice.
Broderick induced two groundballs to his first two batters, but they both sneaked through the infield. He hit two batters and walked another while allowing two runs in 1 2 / 3 i nnings. Still, he came out of this appearance far more confident than after his first.
“I felt a lot better,” Broderick said. “I was trying to go out there and attack the hitters and not be afraid, going after guys.”
l Michael Morse feared the worst when Capuano hit him with a pitch directly on his kneecap. Morse said his knee “locked up,” and at first he could only limp around. “It was scary,” Morse said. But he remained in the game. At the end of the night, it felt sore, but Morse did not think it would affect his playing status.