Entering Sunday's action against the Phillies, shortstop Ian Desmond is one of the best players on the Nationals, hitting .275 with 16 home runs and 54 RBIs. He is also one of the best defensive shortstops in the game.
MLB.com caught up with Desmond recently to talk about the Nationals and the inconsistent season they are having.
MLB.com: How surprised are you that the Nationals have been inconsistent most of this season?
Ian Desmond: In this game, you can't expect anything. If I said in Spring Training that we were going to win 100 games and we played like this, I would be very surprised. … You can't predict the future. So I'm not shocked, because this is baseball. Baseball has some weird stuff sometimes. Do we need to play consistently? Absolutely.
MLB.com: What are the reasons the Nationals are playing inconsistently?
Desmond: You can't really explain it. To this point, by no means am I saying this thing is over. To this point, we haven't had continuous momentum. We'll get it and then we let it go. But when we do get it and when we do get the momentum, it going to be fun. I hope it's not too late.
MLB.com: You are having another solid season. What do you think about the season you are having?
Desmond: Two years ago, if I said I would take this season, I would say, yeah. After last year, I feel like this year has been a little inconsistent along with the team also. If I become more consistent, the team becomes more consistent.
MLB.com: Any improvements you would like to make?
Desmond: Absolutely -- in all facets. I don't want to feel content in this game. [Bench coach] Randy Knorr told me a long time ago, "Don't ever feel comfortable, because you never know. There is always somebody behind you that wants your job."
MLB.com: It seems like yesterday that a lot of people wanted to push you out of town. How happy are you that your career has turned out the way it has?
Desmond: I'm happy for the people that supported me and the people that built me up. They put in as much time as I did. They believed in me 100 percent when all the naysayers were out there. I feel like for those people [who were behind me], it's a sense of gratification to know that my hard work, [and] their hard work that they put in me, paid off also.
MLB.com: Who do you credit for your success?
Desmond: I can't say one person. I've been so blessed in my life to have unbelievable people around me that built me up and that made me a better man. I couldn't give you one or five people. My whole life has been filed with people who have been unbelievable.
MLB.com: If you had to do anything over this season, what would that be?
Desmond: Nothing. To this point, we have played with 100 percent heart, we played as hard as we can every day. The things that happened on the field, you can't ever go back and change. You have to battle through them. This is what we've done -- we've battled, we've grinded and it hasn't been easy. We have not thrown in the towel by any means. I think there are a lot of teams that would have thrown in the towel. But we are definitely a resilient group.
MLB.com: The Nationals take after Davey Johnson as far as being resilient. Why haven't the Nationals given up on the season?
Desmond: Because we know what we are capable of. We know we are a good ballclub. We know that eventually things turn in this game. The momentum does switch sides. Hopefully, it's not too late. It will -- just in time.
MLB.com: When did you notice that the ship wasn't right?
Desmond: As an outsider, you look and you say something is not right. The inside in me, and I speak for myself, I see a lot more that is right for a team that is struggling. All the numbers are against us as far as batting average, statistics and things like that are against us. But we continue to fight. I look at this as a tremendous positive going into the future and going into the rest of the season. I find it a major negative if everyone here gives up based on the statistics and what everyone else is saying. I don't see negative. I see people having off years and the ball not yet rolling for us. But no one's heart is out of it. I think that is 100 times more important than all the statistics and numbers and stuff like that.
MLB.com: You have always taken a positive attitude. Why?
Desmond: I think everybody has worked their whole lives to be where they are at. For me personally, God has given me an opportunity to play the game that I love for a living. Just because the odds are stacked against you, it doesn't mean you can't overcome. I say this all the time, struggle builds character and to maintain and be the player you want to be in this game, you have to have a strong character. You have to be resilient and have endurance also. I think this room is filled with guys with that same exact mentality.
MLB.com: Are there any changes you want to see on the field?
Desmond: No. I think we have a better team at this point right now than we did last year. Everything is set for us to get hot, and let's see what we can do.
MLB.com: Johnson is leaving after the season. What is your best memory about him?
Desmond: I don't know. I'm not going to give you that answer until after the season, I guess. Something good might happen.
MLB.com: What would you want your next manager to be like?
Desmond: I never had a manager I didn't like. I respect them all. I will play just as hard for one guy that I will for the next. All you can do is play as hard as you can. The rest of the stuff will take care of itself. I would like to see a guy that has a heart for the game and wants to see his guys do well.