The Washington Times - July 31, 2013, 10:05AM

DETROIT — The Washington Nationals will wrap up their brief two-game set with the Detroit Tigers Wednesday afternoon with an intriguing pitching matchup: Justin Verlander against Gio Gonzalez.

The Nationals’ lineup also looks a bit different.


Denard Span returns to the leadoff spot with Bryce Harper batting second behind him, stacking left-handers at the top. Anthony Rendon gets the start at third base while Ryan Zimmerman serves as the designated hitter, and Steve Lombardozzi gets the start at second. 

Manager Davey Johnson has said the past few days how much he’s liked Span’s approach in the No. 7 spot in the lineup, but he hinted on Tuesday that a return to leadoff could be coming for Span. 

“If he gets back to normal I’ll probably do something else,” Johnson said of Span. “I think if we get things squared away I could lead him back off and he’d probably take the same approach.” 

Span is also 15-for-42 in his career against Verlander, so that could’ve played into the thinking.

Here are the full lineups:


Denard Span CF
Bryce Harper LF
Ryan Zimmerman DH
Jayson Werth RF
Adam LaRoche 1B
Ian Desmond SS
Anthony Rendon 2B
Kurt Suzuki C
Steve Lombardozzi 2B
— Gio Gonzalez P