Desmond is awaiting the birth of his first child, which could come any day now. The combination of a tough start and his real-life obligations made Riggleman think Desmond would benefit from a breather.

“Ian could use a day,” Riggleman said. “He’s got a lot on his mind, the birth of his child coming. But he’s not an excuse maker, believe me. He’s not feeling good about his game yesterday. We’re just going to let him sit back and reflect on one and maybe win this one with a pinch-hit for us.

“I would think that he’s got a lot going on in his mind. Sometimes, when you’re not getting your hits, you get a couple errors accumulated, it can get in your head a little bit. We’re just going to give him a break today.”

Riggleman adores the way Desmond plays and carries himself, and defended one of Desmond’s errors Saturday night. After a pickoff at first base, Adam LaRoche threw the ball to second. With Jose Tabata bearing down and likely to be safe, Desmond gambled by making a quick catch-and-tag and just missed the ball.

“He’s taking one for the team there,” Riggleman said. “A fast runner is going to second. There’s probably no play there. Instead of giving up on the play, he tried to be extremely quick, slap a tag down. In the process, he gets charged with an error. He could have just played it safe, caught the ball, doesn’t get charged with an error. He kind of tried to save us there out of a situation.”