The Washington Times - July 4, 2012, 10:04AM

Good morning and Happy Independence Day to all as the Nationals and Giants are preparing for an 11:05 a.m. start time on this Fourth of July. It is believed that this is the first morning game in Nationals’ history and with an 85-minute rain delay that pushed last night’s game late there were more than a few sleepy faces in the Nationals’ clubhouse this morning. (Or was that just the pressbox?)

Anyway, the Nationals lineup has a few tweaks this morning with first baseman Adam LaRoche getting a day off against left-hander Madison Bumgarner, replaced by Tyler Moore, Michael Morse shifting over to left field and Mark DeRosa getting the start in right. 


Edwin Jackson will get the start for the Nationals, the first Washington pitcher to take the mound on July 4 with his team having the best record in their league since 1933. The Nationals open the day 3 1/2 games up on the second place New York Mets and a remarkable 12 games up on the Philadelphia Phillies. 

As Jordan Zimmermann put it last night after his offense scored nine runs and pounded out 13 hits — the seventh straight game they’ve had at least nine hits and their fifth of those seven with a double-digit output: “If they keep hitting the way they’re hitting now, I don’t see why we can’t just run away with this in the second half. And if we keep pitching the way we are, I mean, it’s going to be tough to beat us.”

– In a procedural note, the Nationals reinstated catcher Sandy Leon from the disabled list, where he’d been since mid-May with a high ankle sprain, and returned him to Double-A Harrisburg. Leon, who was called up after Wilson Ramos suffered a torn ACL, was hurt while making his major league debut. Since, Jhonatan Solano has somewhat solidified himself at the backup catcher spot. 

The Nationals will be looking for the series win today over the NL West-leading Giants.

Here are the full lineups:


Danny Espinosa 2B
Bryce Harper CF
Ryan Zimmerman 3B
Michael Morse LF
Ian Desmond SS
Tyler Moore 1B
Mark DeRosa RF
Jhonatan Solano C
Edwin Jackson P


 Gregor Blanco CF
Emmanuel Burriss 2B
Melky Cabrera LF
Buster Posey C
Pablo Sandoval 3B
Brandon Belt 1B
Nate Schierholtz RF
Brandon Crawford SS
Madison Bumgarner P