Washington Nationals

Good, Bad & Ugly: Nats Beat Phils 8-7; Rookie Desmond Shines

VIERA, FL - FEBRUARY 21:  Ian Desmond #76 of the Washington Nationals poses during photo day at Roger Dean Stadium on February 21, 2009 in Viera, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Dave NicholsSenior Analyst ISeptember 11, 2009
"I've never had anything like that happen before, you know? I didn't know if they were being serious or not, so I didn't want to look like a dummy." - Nats shortstop Ian Desmond, on his curtain call, Sept. 10, 2009.

THE RESULT: Making his major league debut, Washington Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond homered, doubled, and drove in four runs, leading the Nats to a 8-7 victory over the first-place Philadelphia Phillies, before 18,706 at Nationals Park.

The Nats won for just the second time in their last 12 games.

Desmond finished 2-for-4 with one run, but his two outs were also long drives to the warning track. He was also thrown out at home trying to score from second on a bunt by pitcher Livan Hernandez. Only a heads-up dive by Philly starter Joe Blanton prevented Desmond from scoring on the play.

Hernandez was strong for Washington. He went seven and one-third innings, allowing two earned runs on six hits and just one walk, striking out two. He improved his record to 8-10 on the season.

Washington tried to blow it in the ninth inning, giving up five Philly runs. Zach Segovia's Nationals debut did not go quite as well as Desmond's.

Segovia entered the game leading 8-2, but allowed a grand slam to pinch-hitter Matt Stairs, who had been riding an 0-for-30 streak.
After Mike MacDougal gave up a couple hits, Ron Villone came in and got Ryan Howard to bounce into a double play to finally end the game.

THE TAKEAWAY: It was learned after the game that General Manager Mike Rizzo and interim manager Jim Riggleman had a private meeting with shortstop Cristian Guzman on Thursday afternoon and asked him to switch to second base for the 2010 season.
None of the parties were available to comment on the topic to offer details of the conversation.
It's interesting that this information would come to light the day after so much backlash over Riggleman's statements the last couple of days about his desire to "play to win" by continuing to play the veterans and the "obligation to contenders to put our best players out there."
Desmond clearly deserved his promotion, and clearly deserves to play the bulk of time at shortstop the rest of the way out this season.
It's high time the team starts acting with the best interest of the team in mind, instead of pandering to overpriced veterans who certainly won't be playing for "the first great Nationals team."
If Guzman feels like someone's stepped on his toes, so be it. He's been playing defense the better part of two years like someone was currently standing on his toes.
I said at the time, his "reward" contract was a mistake, and it's still an albatross. Only now, the Nats have a competent administrator in place to rectify the situation.
THE GOOD: Ian Desmond. 2-for-4, homer, double, four RBI. About 15 feet from hitting the glass window at the Red Porch restaurant in center field. Welcome to the show, kid.
THE BAD: Ryan Zimmerman. 0-for-5, three left on base. Rough night.
THE UGLY: Zach Segovia. One-third of an inning. Two hits, a walk and a grand slam allowed. Welcome to the show, kid.
NEXT GAME: The Nats travel to Florida to start a six-game roadie against the Marlins. J.D. Martin (3-4, 4.35) faces Josh Johnson (14-4, 3.04) for the Fish.

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