- The Washington Times - Monday, April 6, 2015

The momentum in Monday’s season-opener shifted when David Wright hit a high fly ball to shallow center field in the sixth inning.

It was a windy afternoon at Nationals Park, and a bright one without a cloud in the sky. Washington Nationals second baseman Dan Uggla settled under the ball, claiming it as his. Shortstop Ian Desmond, unsure whether Uggla was in proper position to catch it, raced over and called him off. Desmond lunged at the ball as it fell harmlessly between them, two runners now in scoring position with two outs and a no-hitter in jeopardy.

Sure enough, Lucas Duda singled in the next at-bat, driving in two runs, and the New York Mets took a 2-1 lead. They wound up winning 3-1.

Afterwards, Desmond watched a replay of the error that was ultimately charged to him. At the time, he didn’t hear Uggla’s call and thought he had the best chance to make the play. In retrospect, he wishes he had acted differently.

“That was pretty embarrassing. I felt like one of those Little Leaguers,” Desmond said. “I just looked up. I didn’t hear anything, so I just kept on going for it. I didn’t want to let it hit the ground with two outs. I’m going to call it and try to get [it]. Looking back, Dan was camped underneath it and I should have just let him have it.”

Desmond did not blame the wind, his lack of playing time with Uggla, or any other factor for his misplay. Uggla, meanwhile, tried to accept his share of responsibility for the error.

I wasn’t loud enough,” Uggla said. “I’ve got to be louder in that situation. He’s a shortstop. If he doesn’t hear anything or see anybody underneath it or something like that, he’s got to go after it. That’s him being aggressive and that’s what makes him an awesome player.”

Manager Matt Williams said the ball was blowing to right field, making it difficult for Desmond to judge its flight. He said that error, among other defensive miscues, made starter Max Scherzer’s job more difficult.

“For me it was Desi [being] a little bit overzealous,” Williams said. “But I think Danny can catch that ball for sure.”

Desmond committed a second error with one out in the seventh inning, skipping a ball to first base that Ryan Zimmerman could not handle.

April errors have plagued the shortstop for much of the past five seasons. Last season, he committed eight errors in the season’s first month. In 2013 and 2011, he committed seven. In 2010, he had three errors in his first three games of the season.

Desmond was keenly aware of those statistics Monday night.

“These are all quotes that you can take from the last five years of April,” he said of his miscues Monday. “Hopefully, [we’ll] put it behind us quickly. Ready to get this next game going.” 

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