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Game 121: Reds at Nats

Aug 17, 2011, 9:00 PM EDT

File photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Ross Detwiler faces Johnny Cueto tonight at Nationals Park.

Way back when this season began, Ian Desmond was the Nationals' leadoff hitter. Wow, does that seem like a long time ago, or what? By April 15, the shortstop had been dropped in the order, and he's spent the majority two months batting either seventh or eighth. But he's started to get hot again, having hit .283 over his last 12 games, so tonight Desmond is back in the leadoff spot for the first time since April 14.

The residual effect: red-hot Rick Ankiel gets bumped down to No. 2, with slumping Danny Espinosa now in the 6-hole. What tangible effect this all has on the Nationals' lineup remains to be seen.

Ross Detwiler will be on the mound, looking once again to establish his ability to pitch deep into a game, something he's struggled with in the past. He and the Nats have a tough challenge ahead of them, facing Reds right-hander Johnny Cueto, who leads the NL with a 1.94 ERA.

As you know, I'm in Hagerstown tonight for Stephen Strasburg's rehab start. So I won't have updates or a postgame article from Nationals Park. Please keep up the conversation as always here, and be sure to check for my full Strasburg recap later on the site…

REDS at NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
TV: MASN2
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 187
Weather: Partly cloudy, 85 degrees, Wind 8 mph in from RF

STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS (58-62)
SS Ian Desmond
CF Rick Ankiel
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Michael Morse

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WLGB
WASHINGTON2518
NEW YORK24201.5
ATLANTA21213.5
PHILADELPHIA19267.0
MIAMI17278.5
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