Cabrera, Desmond gelling as double-play partners

By Daniel Popper

WASHINGTON – Asdrubal Cabrera has been a member of the Nationals for less than a month, but he’s already made a huge impact on both sides of the ball. In the process, the second baseman has become increasingly comfortable playing alongside shortstop Ian Desmond.

The duo turned a sensational 4-6-3 double play in Sunday’s walk-off win over the Pirates. With no outs in the top of the eighth and reliever Tyler Clippard on the mound, Russell Martin ripped a line drive up the middle. Cabrera moved to his right, scooped it up off two hops, and flipped behind the back to second base. The delivery was a shade low, but Desmond was able to collect the ball, tag the base and fire to first for what ended up being the No. 1 play on SportsCenter’s Top 10 that night.

“The reputation that he has around the league, what the guys say when they come to second base and what the umpires have to say about him, it’s all great,” Desmond said of Cabrera. “Personally, when I get to establish myself in the league a little more, I want to be known as a professional and that’s what he is. He’s what you strive to be as a ballplayer. That’s just respected and appreciated and we definitely appreciate him here.”

Cabrera and Desmond turned another exquisite double play in Tuesday night’s 8-1 win over the D-backs at Nationals Park, this time on a rocket shot to shortstop. Desmond ranged left and picked a hotshot grounder up the middle before making the short throw to second, where Cabrera received the ball, turned and gunned out Mark Trumbo at first.

“He’s a great shortstop,” said Cabrera, who went 1-for-3 with a double and three RBIs Tuesday night. “I feel really comfortable at second, too. I think we no have to work too much together to get everything done. I think we do a great job and hope we still do what we’re doing now.”

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