PHILADELPHIA — It’s been a week since Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson wrote out his lineup with a slight twist, putting shortstop Ian Desmond in the No. 2 spot and dropping right fielder Jayson Werth into the six-hole.
When he first did it, Johnson said his reasoning was simple: “Because I’m supposed to do something.”
But in the seven games since, Johnson has not strayed from that construction. And the Nationals, while still struggling through a handful of quiet offensive games, have averaged 5.86 runs per game since the swap.
Their peripheral numbers, as a team, have also been better in that stretch. Since July 4, the Nationals are hitting .293 with a .363 on-base percentage and a .450 slugging percentage as a team.
Johnson said Thursday he is exceptionally pleased with how the new configuration is working.
“I like (Denard Span), Desi and (Bryce Harper) one through three,” Johnson said. “I like their energy. I like having the more veteran part of the lineup in the middle, and I like some younger players with pop at the end.”
On Wednesday night, it was their No. 7 and 8 hitters who keyed the offense with Anthony Rendon and Wilson Ramos hitting the first of two sets of back-to-back homers by the Nationals.
Ryan Zimmerman and Werth added the second an inning later.
Barring an injury, it sounds as though the Nationals will likely keep this lineup configuration at least through the weekend and into the All-Star break.