SAN FRANCISCO — Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson was out on the field at AT&T Park early on Tuesday afternoon, watching several of his hitters take early batting practice and as left-hander Ross Detwiler did his first throwing since straining his right oblique.
As he was on his way in, he bumped into center fielder Denard Span and right fielder Bryce Harper. They chatted about the lineup, before Johnson had written it out for the day, and some of their thoughts on the topic. With Jayson Werth out, and before him Ryan Zimmerman, the No. 2 spot in the order has been something of a revolving door.
Zimmerman and Harper had talked about it recently, thinking about “maybe moving back to something like they had last year with Harper hitting second,” Johnson said.
The manager agreed, so there it was.
“I said ‘If you guys are good for it, I’m good for it,’” Johnson said. “Thats’ where that came about.”
In truth this may be the Nationals’ best lineup construction with the personnel they have right now. It gets their best hitters stacked more at the top of the lineup and pushes some of the bigger question marks lower in the order.
Johnson also noted that it gives him his best defensive team behind Stephen Strasburg.
“Usually at this time of year I’d have guys swinging the bat well off the bench and I’d plug them in here and there, but everybody’s kind of trying to feel their way,” he said. “So we’ll go old school and pitch good and defend good.”
Danny Espinosa returned to the lineup after a one-day absence as the Nationals hope he can bust out of the significant struggle that’s plagued him this season.
– It is “Until There’s A Cure” night at AT&T Park, and both teams are wearing red ribbons on their uniforms in honor of the cause.
From the Giants: “Tuesday, May 21, is the Giants 20thanniversary of Until There’s a Cure Night, presented by Gilead and the Giants Community Fund. To commemorate this historic partnership that brought together a professional sports team and a foundation to help end HIV/AIDS, the Until There’s A Cure Foundation, the Giants will hold a home plate ceremony looking back on 20 years of education and awareness highlighted by the support of many Giants players throughout the years.
“Giants closer Rod Beck was one of the first professional athletes to embrace the cause and lend his support to finding a cure for HIV and AIDS. His wife, Stacey, and daughters, Kayla and Kelsey, will participate in the night’s events.”
Here are the full lineups:
Denard Span CF
Bryce Harper RF
Ryan Zimmerman 3B
Adam LaRoche 1B
Ian Desmond SS
Danny Espinosa 2B
Roger Bernadina LF
Kurt Suzuki C
Stephen Strasburg P
Angel Pagan CF
Marco Scutaro 2B
Pablo Sandoval 3B
Buster Posey C
Hunter Pence RF
Brandon Belt 1B
Gregor Blanco LF
Brandon Crawford SS
Matt Cain P