ST. LOUIS — Late Monday night, as the sting of elimination set in for the Washington Nationals, manager Davey Johnson tried to keep his focus on the next five games. He spoke of being a spoiler, of mucking things up for someone else — particularly of trying to make it tougher for the St. Louis Cardinals to earn a division crown.
“They eliminated us last year from the playoffs,” Johnson said. “We’re going to put our best foot forward tomorrow. We ain’t going to make it easy for these boys.”
Tomorrow has arrived as the Nationals and Cardinals get set for the middle game of this three-game set, and the Nationals’ lineup is choc-full of regulars. With Gio Gonzalez on the mound all eight of the Nationals’ regular starting position players will be on the field behind him.
The Cardinals opened Tuesday with a two-game lead on the Reds and the Pirates in the division, so the Nationals could help one of those current wild card holders avoid the one-game wild card playoff game if they can beat the Cardinals here in the next two games.
“We dug our own hole and we just couldn’t dig out of it,” Johnson said. “Now we can make it miserable for somebody else.”
Here are the full lineups:
Denard Span CF
Ryan Zimmerman 3B
Jayson Werth RF
Bryce Harper LF
Ian Desmond SS
Adam LaRoche 1B
Wilson Ramos C
Anthony Rendon 2B
Gio Gonzalez P