The Washington Nationals didn’t open this 11-game homestand the way they might’ve wanted, but they’ll send Taylor Jordan to the mound on Sunday afternoon in a position to win their fourth game in the last five. For a team that began the second half on a six-game losing streak, that’s a victory in itself.
Jordan faces something of an uncertain immediate future. The right-hander has acquitted himself well since being added to the Nationals’ rotation at the end of June, but an innings limit looms and the Nationals have discussed sending him back to the minor leagues to make shorter starts and, thus, keep him available should they need him later in the season.
For now, it appears Jordan may simply be allowed to pitch at the major league level until he hits his limit as manager Davey Johnson mentioned that sending Jordan down “had” been one of the possibilities before the team opted to demote Drew Storen.
– Denard Span was in the lineup in the No. 7 spot again on Sunday, one day after clubbing his first home run of the season. Span joked that he felt a little lighter, like a monkey was off his back after the homer, and said it was the longest he’d ever gone in a season without hitting one out.
He also admitted that his approach as a No. 7 hitter is different than when he’s a leadoff man.
“He swung at the first pitch,” Johnson said. “We all about fell over on the bench. But he did that on the road, too. In Miami. When he goes from the one hole to the seven hole, he becomes more aggressive. I like that.”
Span’s best games in the No. 7 spot have come with him being aggressive at the plate. His home run was on the first pitch. As a leadoff hitter, he probably wouldn’t have been so inclined to swing at it.
“I’m hitting seventh so I don’t have to worry about going up there trying to see pitches,” Span said. “By the time I get up there, I’ve already seen six guys hit so, I already have a good idea of what that pitcher’s doing. When I get up there, if they’re going to throw me a first-pitch fastball, I’m going to swing.
“It’s different when I’m leading off, I try to see as many pitches as possible but hitting seventh there’s really no rules.”
In his three at-bats on Saturday, Span saw four total pitches.
Here are the full lineups:
Bryce Harper LF
Anthony Rendon 2B
Ryan Zimmerman 3B
Adam LaRoche 1B
Jayson Werth RF
Ian Desmond SS
Denard Span CF
Wilson Ramos C
Taylor Jordan P
Eric Young LF
Josh Satin 3B
Daniel Murphy 2B
Marlon Byrd RF
Ike Davis 1B
John Buck C
Juan Lagares CF
Omar Quintanilla SS
Carlos Torres P