Willingham at 1B today

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Seeking a much-needed victory after dropping two straight to the new-look Pirates the last two nights, the Nationals will go without Adam Dunn in the lineup today. Lefty Paul Maholm is on the mound for Pittsburgh, and that fact combined with Dunn’s mini-slump lately (he’s struck out six times the last two nights) led Jim Riggleman to decide to give him today off.

So Josh Willingham will make his first start at first base since 2004, when he was with Florida’s Class AA affiliate in North Carolina. He figures to get more chances over the next two months, as the Nats decide who will be the regular first baseman in 2010. Barring a re-signing of Nick Johnson, it sounds like Mike Rizzo is content to go with either Dunn or Willingham in that spot.

OK, here are today’s lineups. First pitch at 1:35…

NATIONALS

CF Nyjer Morgan

SS Cristian Guzman

3B Ryan Zimmerman

1B Josh Willingham

LF Elijah Dukes

2B Ronnie Belliard

RF Austin Kearns

C Wil Nieves

P Collin Balester

PIRATES

CF Andrew McCutchen

LF Lastings Milledge

1B Garrett Jones

C Ryan Doumit

2B Delwyn Young

3B Andy LaRoche

RF Brandon Moss

SS Ronny Cedeno

P Paul Maholm

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Mark Zuckerman

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