Sep 4, 2010, 7:35 PM EDT
Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
John Lannan faces Paul Maholm in an all-lefty matchup tonight at PNC Park.
PITTSBURGH — Hello once again from beautiful PNC Park, which despite the wretchedness of its regular tenants continues to stand out as the best ballpark in the majors. (Full disclosure: I was born here and grew up a Pirates fan, so my opinion may be slightly biased, though just about every nonpartisan visitor to this park agrees it's tops in the sport.)
Fans in attendance tonight will witness a rarity: A Nats lineup without Adam Dunn. For only the sixth time in 136 games this season, Dunn is not starting. There's been only one game in which he didn't appear at all (May 18 at St. Louis when he had to return to D.C. for a personal matter) so the likelihood is that we'll still see him at some point off the bench. Still, Dunn's absence leaves a pretty major void in the Nats' lineup, which doesn't look nearly as intimidating with Michael Morse batting cleanup and Roger Bernadina hitting fifth.
John Lannan starts for the Nationals, looking to continue his second-half resurgence. In six outings since his return from the minors, the lefty is 4-1 with a 3.25 ERA, having allowed two earned runs or fewer five times. Here's a crazy stat: If Lannan gets the win tonight, he'll improve to 7-6 for the season, which would rank him behind only Livan Hernandez and Tyler Clippard (each with nine wins) on the Nats' pitching staff. Probably says more about everyone else who has pitched out of the rotation this year than anything.
Jim Riggleman, finishing up his two-game suspension, will once again be watching this one alongside Mike Rizzo in a press box suite. John McLaren will manage from the dugout again. Pat Listach begins to serve his two-game suspension tomorrow. Rick Eckstein is expected to coach third base in Listach's absence.
Check back for updates throughout the evening…
NATIONALS at PIRATES
Where: PNC Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Partly cloudy, 63 degrees, Wind 13 mph out to LF
CF Nyjer Morgan
SS Ian Desmond
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Michael Morse
NL EAST STANDINGS
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