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Amanda Comak covers the Washington Nationals for The Washington Times.
One day after Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said he was planning to drop the shortstop -- who has gone 0-for-13 to start the season -- to seventh in the order and give second baseman Danny Espinosa a chance to bat leadoff, the manager reversed course and stuck with Desmond.
Despite Nationals manager Jim Riggleman saying Tuesday that when his young double play tandem returned to the lineup today Danny Espinosa would bat leadoff and Ian Desmond would drop down to the seventh slot, Riggleman changed his mind overnight and the Nationals are back to their Opening Day lineup for tonight's game against the Marlins.
The Nationals had scheduled off days after their first two losses of the season, giving them extra time to sit and simmer. But today they have the opportunity to do something about last night's brutal 3-2 extra innings loss to the Marlins. They'll have to do it against Marlins right-hander Chris Volstad, who was 4-0 last season against Washington. Here's how the Nationals starters have done against Volstad.
The Nationals left 12 men on base Tuesday night -- and were just 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position. That's a figure that has to change if the Nationals want to have any shot of being competitive in the National League East.
Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa both got the day off on Tuesday as Nationals manager Jim Riggleman used the Nationals first road game of the season as a chance to get both Jerry Hairston Jr. and Alex Cora some playing time early in the season. But Wednesday, when both of the Nationals young infielders return to the lineup, they will have switched positions in the batting order with Espinosa slotting in at leadoff and Desmond dropping down to the seventh spot.
Here are the lineups for the Nationals' first road series of the year.
On the mound for the Marlins tonight will be right-hander Anibal Sanchez who is 5-0 against the Nationals with a 2.28 ERA in 13 games.
Minor League spring training has wrapped up and the players are on their way to their respective landing spots to start the season. The rosters aren't completely set but here are where a few players will be heading.
Brian Broderick was one of the spring's best stories, the Rule 5 pick earning his way on to the Nationals 25-man roster with a sterling preseason. His major league debut, however, didn't exactly go as planned.
It's a pretty quiet day at the ballpark today and we're just minutes away from Jordan Zimmermann's first pitch. With that in mind -- and remember this is an incredibly small sample size -- I checked out Zimmermann's numbers against the Braves.
Here are the lineups for the rubber match between the Braves and the Nationals today:
The Nationals will wrap up a three-game homestand this afternoon against Braves right-hander Tim Hudson -- the third right-handed pitcher in a row they've seen. Get used to it. The Nationals are not scheduled to face a left-handed pitcher until Sunday, April 10 against the Mets and Chris Capuano. Here are their numbers vs. Hudson.
Not once during his postgame press conference did Nationals manager Jim Riggleman utter the word "closer." But when Drew Storen was warming in the bullpen before the eighth inning this afternoon in a three-run game, despite the fact that he'd presumably face two left-handers in Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman with Sean Burnett still available, it wasn't difficult to see which way Riggleman was leaning and he confirmed as much after the game.
Two rain delays didn't disrupt John Lannan, who held the Braves to one run off five hits and a walk, and the Nationals' offense supported him with four early runs as Washington picked up its first win of the 2011 season, 6-3 over the Braves.
In the two catchers on their roster, the Nationals have a future Hall of Famer and an up-and-coming 23-year-old considered one of the best catching prospects in the major leagues. And while Ivan Rodriguez was this team's Opening Day catcher, Wilson Ramos will get the start today and thus begin the transition for the Nationals -- and Rodriguez -- toward playing the younger, potential-laden Ramos in an everyday role.
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
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