Jul 20, 2010, 7:32 PM EDT
Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Luis Atilano returns to the Nats' rotation tonight to face the Reds' Mike Leake.
CINCINNATI — It's another warm, muggy day along the banks of the Ohio River, with a chance of evening storms again threatening. Last night's rain really didn't seem to affect anything; both J.D. Martin and Johnny Cueto returned from the 42-minute delay without missing a beat.
The challenge will be upon a pair of rookies, Luis Atilano and Mike Leake, to do the same tonight. These two have already squared off head-to-head this season, with Leake (who made the majors this spring without ever appearing in the minors) beating Atilano 5-1 on June 5 at Nationals Park. Atilano pitched really well that night in a hard-luck, losing effort, allowing just one earned run over seven innings. He returns tonight following a brief, one-start stint at Class AAA Syracuse over the All-Star break. He struggled in that outing and wasn't exactly tearing it up before the break. With several rehabbing pitchers getting closer to rejoining the Nats' rotation, Atilano could be just about out of time to make his case.
Lineup-wise, Jim Riggleman has decided to try Ian Desmond in the 2-hole tonight. It may sound counter-intuitive based on Desmond's overall struggles and low OBP. But he's actually performed best as a No. 2 hitter. In eight games from that spot this season, he's hitting .353 (12-for-34) with a .618 slugging percentage. Meanwhile, Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn have been flip-flopped, something Riggleman has done in the past against left-handed starters but not against right-handers. Ivan Rodriguez also gets bumped to the 7-hole.
Check back for updates throughout the afternoon and evening…
NATIONALS at REDS
Where: Great American Ball Park
Gametime: 7:10 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Chance of storms, 80 degrees, Wind 7 mph RF to LF
CF Nyjer Morgan
SS Ian Desmond
1B Adam Dunn
3B Ryan Zimmerman
COUNTDOWN TO OPENING DAY
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