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Sticking with what works: today's lineups

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BALTIMORE — To no one’s surprise, after a record-setting night offensively, the Nationals are sticking with the exact same lineup in the middle game of their three-game set with the Orioles.

Chances are, the Nationals 17-run, 19-hit outburst will not be duplicated, even if the lineup is. But it has to be encouraging for manager Jim Riggleman to get to the ballpark today and not have to even think about who he’s running out there. 

Before we get to the full lineups, a few things that may have gone overlooked last night:

— Henry Rodriguez has been much better since his wild outing in Florida in Mother’s Day. The 100-mph flamethrower is consistently working with pitching coach Steve McCatty and bullpen coach Jim Lett on his control and his lines.

In his past four outings, Rodriguez has pitched four innings, allowed just two hits, struck out five and walked no one. He’s thrown 53 pitches and 37 of them have been for strikes. That’s a marked improvement for a guy who, in his four innings (three appearances) prior, had given up three hits, one run and six walks — and thrown just 43 of his 86 pitches for strikes.

Three outings does not a lockdown reliever make, but the Nationals did use Rodriguez with a lead for the first time this season Friday night. Granted, it was a seven-run lead, but it was a lead nonetheless.

— The Nationals need Roger Bernadina to continue being their leadoff hitter, even when Rick Ankiel returns from the disabled list, and Bernadina has done his job both atop the lineup and in center field admirably well since he was called up on May 7. However, for as well as he’s done, he’ll have to play better defensively than he did in the third inning Friday night.

It didn’t end up costing the Nationals too much because of their offensive outburst, but Bernadina simply dropped a fly ball to center by Matt Wieters that brought the Orioles with a run. One batter later, Luke Scott singled to center as well and Bernadina’s ill-advised throw allowed Wieters to score the tying run.

— Speaking of the ball Bernadina dropped, it was a clear error but the official scorer at Camden Yards refused to score it as such. As a result, Jason Marquis was charged with five earned runs instead of two in his four innings of work. Don’t get me wrong, Marquis was not sharp and he did give up the bomb to Wieters in the first place with two men on already in the inning, but he didn’t deserve the three extra earned runs.

Most likely, the play will be reviewed by MLB and reversed at some point.

And now for the lineups:

Nationals:

Roger Bernadina CF
Ian Desmond SS
Laynce Nix LF
Jayson Werth RF
Matt Stairs DH
Adam LaRoche 1B
Wilson Ramos C
Danny Espinosa 2B
Jerry Hairston Jr. 3B
— John Lannan P

Orioles:

Robert Andino 2B
Adam Jones CF
Nick Markakis RF
Vladimir Guerrero DH
Matt Wieters C
J.J. Hardy SS
Mark Reynolds 3B
Nolan Reimold LF
Brandon Snyder 1B
— Jeremy Guthrie P 

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About the Author
Amanda Comak

Amanda Comak

Amanda Comak covers the Washington Nationals and comes to The Washington Times from the Cape Cod Times and after stints with MLB.com and the Amsterdam (N.Y.) Recorder. A Massachusetts native and 2008 graduate of Boston University, Amanda can be reached at acomak@washingtontimes.com and you can follow her on Twitter @acomak.

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