Jul 11, 2012, 3:00 PM EDT
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Ian Desmond's breakthrough performance earned the shortstop an A.
While the Nationals' pitching staff excelled throughout the season's first half and was the primary reason for this club's 49-34 record at the All-Star break, the performance from Washington's lineup and bench were more sporadic.
Things did take a nice upward turn over the last month, especially once Ryan Zimmerman and Michael Morse returned to their peak forms. Those two stalwarts combined with veteran Adam LaRoche, emerging star Ian Desmond and dynamic rookie Bryce Harper to give the Nationals a formidable quintet in the heart of their lineup.
With the All-Star Game now completed and everybody enjoying two more days off before the second half opens in Miami, it's time to hand out some midseason grades. We'll start with the offense. Check back this afternoon to see how the pitching staff rated…
RICK ANKIEL — C-
He's got maybe the best outfield arm in baseball, and that counts for something. He also occasionally runs into a pitch and hits it over theRead more »
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- Taylor ends it in the 10th with a walk-off 3-run HR
- Barrett has Tommy John surgery, out 12 months
- Taylor has MRI on bruised knee, expects to be back soon
- Roark on the mound as Nats look to continue dominance of Braves
- MLB Power Rankings: Braves sink to the bottom
- Blowout sets Zimmermann up nicely to face Mets
- Bryce Harper makes history without one swing
- Nats knock Braves out of the park in 15-1 pummeling
- Harper returns to Nats lineup, Taylor still hurting
- Strasburg will return next week to face Mets