After watching his team struggle mightily at the plate the last two nights, Davey Johnson has decided to try something new tonight. His starting lineup features the following: Steve Lombardozzi leading off and playing second base. Danny Espinosa sitting on the bench. Ian Desmond batting fifth. And Carlos Maldonado making his first start behind the plate.
Hey, at this point, why not try something new? The move of Desmond down to the 5-hole is actually most intriguing to me, because it's the first time he's hit anywhere but the leadoff spot this year. Desmond, though, does bring some pop to the plate. He's second among NL shortstops with a .451 slugging percentage. And he's second among all major-league shortstops with six homers.
Ross Detwiler takes the mound for his eighth start of the season. At the same time in Toledo, Chien-Ming Wang will be making another rehab start for Class AAA Syracuse. Keep an eye on how both pitchers perform.
Updates to come on the Nats Insider live game thread, so please check it out...
BALTIMORE ORIOLES at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:15 p.m. EDT
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WWXT (92.7 FM), WWXX (94.3 FM), WTEM (980 AM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 89
Weather: Clear, 76 degrees, Wind 7 mph in from RF
2B Steve Lombardozzi
RF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
CF Rick Ankiel
C Carlos Maldonado
LF Roger Bernadina
LHP Ross Detwiler
2B Robert Andino
SS J.J. Hardy
RF Nick Markakis
CF Adam Jones
C Matt Wieters
1B Wilson Betemit
3B Steve Tolleson
LF Xavier Avery
RHP Jason Hammel
HP Andy Fletcher, 1B Rob Drake, 2B Joe West (cc), 3B Sam Holbrook
You can always count on the New York Daily News to run an audacious cover. The tabloid delivered again Friday with an image edited to show two of the league's best young hitters in Yankees pinstripes: Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper and Orioles short stop Manny Machado.
"Bats to the Future" is exactly the headline you'd expect, too.
It's hard to tell what's more odious to Washington and Baltimore fans: the image itself or the suggestion that baseball's new collective bargaining agreement makes it easier for the Yankees to poach their stars.
The premise of that argument comes from sources who say the new CBA contains two changes beneficial to New York: reduced revenue sharing burden (due to tweaks in how sharing is calculated, plus a deduction for the cost of building and running Yankee Stadium) and an increased luxury tax threshold.
Without going into number crunching detail, the Daily News explains how the club could afford Harper and/or Machado when they become free agents after the 2018 season.
The article's tone of inevitability, despite its many assumptions, will rankle fans of all 29 other teams. After all, the Yankees aren't the only franchise interested in Harper and Machado.
The Nationals and Orioles will presumably try to keep their stars. But to do that, they may have to fend off potentially historic money from the Bronx.
MORE BASEBALL: Nats let Ben Revere walk
Ben Revere was brought to Washington in the hopes he could solve the centerfield and lead-off issue that plagued them the previous year. After just one year, the Nationals have decided to move on from Revere as they declined to tender him.
The move makes Revere a free agent after a .217/.260/.300 season that fell way below expectations. Revere tied his career-high with two home runs and added 24 RBI while scoring 44 runs.
Stay tuned for more information!