PITTSBURGH -- With his lineup struggling to score runs, and with left-hander Erik Bedard on the mound for the Pirates tonight, Davey Johnson is going to trot out as many right-handed hitters as he can. That means Tyler Moore gets to make his second career start in left field, with veteran Xavier Nady in right field.
That also means Bryce Harper, a left-handed batter, will shift into center field. Pretty amazing how much he's been able to bounce around between positions. This is his 10th big-league game, during which time he's made six starts in left field, three starts in center field and one start in right field.
Ross Detwiler takes the mound for the Nationals in search of his team-leading fourth win. If he's fortunate to be given a lead late, it'll be interesting to see how Johnson handles the back end of the bullpen in the wake of Henry Rodriguez's ninth-inning meltdown from last night. The hunch here: Rodriguez still gets the ball in a save situation.
Check back for updates throughout on Nats Insider's live game thread...
WASHINGTON NATIONALS at PITTSBURGH PIRATES
Where: PNC Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 183
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 62 degrees, Wind 9 mph out to LF
SS Ian Desmond
CF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
RF Xavier Nady
2B Danny Espinosa
LF Tyler Moore
C Wilson Ramos
LHP Ross Detwiler
RF Jose Tabata
2B Neil Walker
CF Andrew McCutchen
3B Pedro Alvarez
1B Casey McGehee
LF Yamaico Navarro
C Rod Barajas
SS Josh Harrison
LHP Erik Bedard
HP Gerry Davis (cc), 1B Phil Cuzzi, 2B Greg Gibson, 3B Vic Carapazza
Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez became the first former Nationals player (2005-present) to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday. He was inducted in his first year of eligibility, marking the 52nd first-ballot hall of famer in history.
Rodriguez, who was the first free agent signed by current Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, played the final two seasons of his career with Washington in 2010-11. During his time in D.C. he hit .254 six homers and 68 RBI. Pudge's greatest contribution to the Nationals came from his leadership and work ethic. He guided Stephen Strasburg through his rookie season and also helped develop Wilson Ramos so he could pass the torch to him.
During his 21-year career, Pudge made 14 all-star teams, won 13 gold gloves, won seven silver slugger awards, led his league in caught-steeling percentage nine times, and was named American League MVP in 1999 with the Texas Rangers. He became a World Series champion in 2003 with the Florida Marlins. Pudge's 13 gold gloves are the most ever by a catcher, and his 2,844 career hits are the most ever by a player who appeared in 50 percent or more of their career games as a catcher.
In addition to Rodriguez, former Montreal Expos great Tim Raines was inducted to the Hall of Fame. Raines is the franchise leader (Expos/Nationals) in walks (793), runs (947), stolen bases (635) and triples (82). Raines was an all-star seven times and he won a silver slugger in 1986 with the Expos. He is the only player in MLB history with at least 100 triples, 150 homers and 600 RBI in a career, and the only player to steal at least 70 bases in six consecutive seasons.
Related: Bryce Harper wants Nationals to spend money on players, not team store
Bryce Harper isn't one to keep his opinions to himself. The Nationals slugger is outspoken about what he wants, whether that's to "Make Baseball Fun Again" or to make at least $400 million on his next contract.
On Wednesday, he gave his take on how the Nats should be investing their money this summer. Here's Harper responding to a tweet from ESPN's Jim Bowden.
Harper's message: Players over everything else. Sorry, gift shop.
It's plain to see where the 2015 NL MVP is going with this. Obviously, he wants as much talent around him as possible for a chance to win the World Series.
Matt Wieters, a four-time All-Star catcher, and Greg Holland, a two-time All-Star closer, could be significant additions to Washington's roster.
Harper is set to become a free agent in 2018, at which point an organization like the New York Yankees will be prepared to offer him both a massive salary and a massive investment in the players around him.
The slugger probably hopes his current team will try to surround him with winning pieces in an effort to keep him. But if a report about the Nationals' reaction to his contract demands proves accurate, they may have another agenda.
There's Harper drama around the Nationals? Just a regular Wednesday here in Washington.
MORE NATIONALS: Nationals avoid arbitration with Harper, three others