Nats are throwing games away with their dismal defense

April 24, 2014

Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond had an MLB-high eight errors entering Thursday. (Alex Brandon/AP)

In Monday’s game against the Angels, Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond darted to his left to field a hard-hit grounder from Albert Pujols in the top of the eighth inning.

The ball hit Desmond’s glove and popped out, and Pujols reached first base safely.

It was “a difficult error,” as Nationals manager Matt Williams put it. “He’s got to range way to the middle. And he stretched out to catch that ball,” Williams said. “If he comes up clean, he’s got a chance to throw him out.”

Later that inning, Desmond committed a throwing error that allowed Raul Ibanez to reach third after the Angels slugger drove in three runs on a double to left center field.

The Angels went on to win 4-2. The two errors drove Desmond’s total to eight for the season, the most in the majors entering Thursday night.

“I’m not making the plays,” Desmond said. “I wish I had an answer.”

Desmond isn’t the only Nationals player struggling in the field. Infielder Anthony Rendon committed three errors over the past week entering Thursday’s game, including two at third base during Tuesday’s 7-2 loss against the Angels.

In Wednesday’s game, Adam LaRoche committed a crucial error in the top of the ninth, which helped contribute to Ibanez scoring a run later in that inning. LaRoche, though, made up for his blunder with a game-winning hit in Washington’s come-from-behind 5-4 win over the Angels.

Prior to Thursday night’s game against San Diego, the Nationals committed 11 errors in the previous 10 games. Their 24 total errors this season was two more than any other team in the majors.

Desmond says he knows the trend can’t continue.

“You use everything in the past to make yourself better,” he said. “This is one of those circumstances. I just have to weather that storm.”

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