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What will lineup look like now?

May 8, 2012, 11:00 AM EDT

US Presswire photo
Adam LaRoche, along with Ryan Zimmerman, is expected to return tonight.

The Nationals club that takes the field tonight at PNC Park in Pittsburgh will look mighty different from the one we saw only 36 hours ago on Sunday Night Baseball. Ryan Zimmerman will be back at his familiar third base. Adam LaRoche should be back at his familiar first base. Jayson Werth won't be in right field. But Bryce Harper will.

Rarely does a first-place club experience so much significant turnover from one game to the next, but such is the unusual situation the Nationals find themselves in as they open a six-game road trip to Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.

The question now becomes how Davey Johnson chooses to arrange his new-look lineup.

If the veteran manager decides to stick with what got him here, he'll probably put Zimmerman back in the No. 3 hole and LaRoche back in the cleanup spot. But what then becomes of Harper, who debuted as the Nationals' seventh hitter but quickly ascended to the third spot whileRead more »

117 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. jeffwx - May 8, 2012 at 11:26 AM

    Worth a try. or lombo sharing duties at 2b/lf…he has one of the team's highest obp and Keep him at number 2 slot..

  2. Brian - May 8, 2012 at 11:28 AM

    As long as the four letters N-A-D-Y stay out of the lineup, everything will be OK

  3. Steady Eddie - May 8, 2012 at 11:28 AM

    This Bucs series should be the Shark's last chance as a starter. Can Tracy do LF? He's been the only bench guy with a bat lately.

  4. Mr. Doggett - May 8, 2012 at 11:36 AM

    I like the idea of Bryce at #2. We definitely need some protection behind him… and there's just something cool about seeing him the first inning of every game. I think it's a good way to get the team going.

  5. Constant Reader - May 8, 2012 at 11:42 AM

    I was wondering the same thing Eddie. Chad Tracy made 4 starts in left and 47 in right in 2005. No outfield starts since. While maybe not quite as pitiable as sending Lo Duca or Guzman into the outfield, it could be an adventure.

  6. John O'Connor - May 8, 2012 at 11:42 AM

    Harper will bat fifth. Bernadine or Ankiel will bat second.

  7. Marty - May 8, 2012 at 11:46 AM

    Given the circumstances there could certainly be worse lineups trotted out. While I would echo the desire to see Lombo in at 2b for a few games, I think that:a) Davey is convinced that the only hope for Espinosa is for him to play his way out of thisb) Until DeRosa comes back, Lombo is the only real backup at 3b and until Zimm shows his health for a few games we will not be seeing Lombo too much in the starting lineup. And because of this we also won't see Espinosa out of the lineup/or in AAA.Is there any update on DeRosa? His 15 days are up on the 14th right?Also as I have mentioned before I would really like to see Davey give Flores a couple of series where he gets 2 out of 3. Given Ramos' defensive struggles it seems like a good idea. Plus if the Nats do end up doing anything towards the trade deadline, Flores (if the Nats deem him trade-able) is a pretty big chip.In a vacuum i'd like to see this lineup a few times:2B Steve LombardozziRF Bryce Harper3B Ryan Zimmerman1B Adam LaRocheSS Ian DesmondCF Rick AnkielLF Roger BernadinaC Jesus FloresP Edwin JacksonAnd I see putting Desmond in the 5 spot as a compliment to him, not a demotion.

  8. Doc - May 8, 2012 at 11:54 AM

    I'm in for Lombo taking on LF. A gold glover at 2nd, surely can continue to adapt to LF.Hitting is the problem with this team, not fielding. We seemed to have discovered over the past several years what The Shark can't do in the batter's box.It'd be nice for guys like Espinosa and Ramos to step it up, or step aside. Where'd their power strokes go??? Bryce at 2nd looks great!

  9. sjb - May 8, 2012 at 11:55 AM

    In a previous thread, I suggested the Nats consider trading for Josh Willingham to replace Werth, while noting the price might be high. A gentleman responded that Willingam was now a DH with bad knees, and went on to call the suggestion stupid and it's author a dolt.I do wish people would check the facts before posting, and especially before flaming. In this case, the facts are readily available at baseball-reference.com, and show that, of the 25 games Willingham has played thus far, he has been in left field for 24 of them and been DH once. (Justin Morneau has been DH most of the games.). In his games in LF, Willingham's range factor (not the best measurement, I know) has been 2.44, which compares favorably with the same number for his two years in Washington.Willingham would certainly be less of a defensive asset than Werth (let alone Bernardina), but the facts show he is still capable of playing the position. I doubt the Nats will follow my suggestion (considering what the cost could be as I pointed out), but I don't think it was stupid or doltish.

  10. jcj5y - May 8, 2012 at 11:58 AM

    Assuming Zim is back, I think we're going to see Lombardozzi playing second tonight, and for most of the series. I'm not sure why Espinosa has lost it so badly, but he is just getting abused right now. Davey is sensitive to the players as individuals, but he's also sensitive to the team, and I'm guessing the team is ready to see Lombo out there.So, my lineup prediction is: Desmond, Lombardozzi, Zimmerman, LaRoche, Harper, Ankiel, Bernadina, Ramos. If Harper feels more comfortable in left, we know that Bernadina can play right.

  11. NatsLady - May 8, 2012 at 12:06 PM

    From an article about 40 Philly fans who took a bus trip over the weekend (organized by Philly sports radio):The trip was a waste; 300 roundtrip miles is a long way to travel only to be confronted by your team's approaching mortality."Trainwreck," one sighed. The woman who ended up claiming Teri and Bob's empty seats said, "If you ever win something from WIP, say no. … Jayson Werth ruined this trip."And Cataldi? His verdict was delivered as the bus approached Ponzio's around 7 p.m., some time after the return-trip movie (Goon, naturally). "This is the last time I'm doing a trip like this," he said. "Holy shit."the-story-of-the-40-phillies-fans-who-took-a-bus-to-nationals-parkhttp://deadspin.com/5908050/the-story-of-the-40-phillies-fans-who-took-a-bus-to-nationals-park-and-the-38-who-returned

  12. MicheleS - May 8, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    Joe Seamhead.. From your previous post. I am with you on taking back RF seats from the Filthy Phans. I think we should suck it up for a couple of games (as much as I am loathe to suffer in a game). So as we get closer to the next home series, post again, and I am with you!In honor of our rally video, I quote the great Blutarsky: WAS IT OVER WHEN THE GERMANS BOMBED PEARL HARBOR? NO!. LETS GO!!!

  13. 320R2S15 - May 8, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    agreed jy. but judging from the Desmond situation from last year, I'd say Davy sticks with Danny. How many of us would have tossed Desmond aside after that crap last year, I probably would have, but Davy has more brains than I do.

  14. MicheleS - May 8, 2012 at 12:15 PM

    SJB.. I think one thing to consider with Willingham is the Twins are still smarting over the Capps/Ramos trade. It's called buyers remorse. And i get the impresstion that they have sour grapes and don't want to talk to Rizzo too much. Also, not sure what the Vibe was between Willingham and the Nats when he left. I hope it was decent. Josh is a good guy, albeit our issue he was getting older and spent too much time on the DL. It' actually not a bad suggestion, I would rather have a power bat, than a slap hitter.

  15. howl31 - May 8, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    I'm digging Marty's lineup (well, under the circumstances)…Lombo 2b (.379 OBP)Harper RF (.424 OBP)ZimmLarocheDesmond (.442 higher slugging then Werth)Ankiel (stay hot!)Bernie/Nady/Moore/Corey BrownCatcherHaving those high OBP guy at the top of the lineup ahead of Zimm and Laroche is our best chance to score runs… and, agreed, putting Desmond in the 5 hole is a compliment and a better fit for his game…Espi would be a switch hitter off the bench, who can steal bases, pop a homer and play mad defense at 2 up the middle positions… he can still get at bats, but, man, we need Lombo's OBP right now and Espi has struggled mightily…You know, our full force team would actually be GOOD offensively:Lombo (.379 OBP)Harper (.424 OBP plus power)ZimmMorseLarocheWerthDesmondRamosBench:FloresTracy (lefy pinch hitter, 1st and 3rd)Moore (righty pinch hitter)Ankiel (great D at all 3 OF positions)Espinosa (switch pinch hitter, speed, great MI D)…Ah well, I can dream…

  16. 320R2S15 - May 8, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    agreed jy. but judging from the Desmond situation from last year, I'd say Davy sticks with Danny. How many of us would have tossed Desmond aside after that crap last year, I probably would have, but Davy has more brains than I do.

  17. JamesFan - May 8, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    I suppose that giving Espi more time to work it out is the right thing to do, but not for long. We can't afford to have offense on the bench and a sub-.200 hitter in the line up. If Espi doesn't work it out fast, let Lombo lead off, move Desi to number two or five and tinker with left field.

  18. Positively Half St. - May 8, 2012 at 12:30 PM

    I would hold off getting Willingham because the expectation is still that Morse will return in a month. Ankiel is playing well enough to be a stopgap, and may approximate what Willingham could offer. In theory, even Werth himeself will return in early August. I say that the team should hold off the trades until it is clearer where things are going to shakeout by mid-summer. I don't think the difference between Ankiel and Willingham will decide whether the Nats contend. The Marlins and Braves are hot right now, and the Nats' hold on first place may be tenuous. While I really want to see them in the playoffs this year, there is also the possibility that the Nats are selling come July 31. Let's just play this out some.+1/2St.

  19. howl31 - May 8, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    Not that I think that going out and getting Willingham would ever happen, or that it is a good idea… but why is Minnesota smarting from that trade?Ramos was never going to unseat Joe Mauer, so at best he would be there backup catcher… so they decided he was more valuable as a trade chip then a backup catcher…And, they got Capps, a (then) 26 year old reliever who helped them get to the playoffs in 2010… and since then has been one of the primary cogs in their bullpen, racking up 36 saves in the less then 2 years since he got there…I think that trade worked out for both teams ultimately… the Twins are horrible now, but it is hard to see how having Wilson Ramos as their backup catcher would make them much better…

  20. jcj5y - May 8, 2012 at 12:39 PM

    32, you're right that Davey has more brains than all of us, plus he knows the players and the clubhouse. So I'm not going to complain if Espinosa is still in there tonight. I'm still hopeful he can work through all this. But I do think that the time when it's hard to justify playing Espinosa over Lombardozzi is fast approaching.

  21. UnkyD - May 8, 2012 at 12:40 PM

    How ridiculous would it be to simply have Lombo and Espy alternate starts at 2B?

  22. ehay2k - May 8, 2012 at 12:43 PM

    Thanks for the link NatsLady, made me laugh out loud. Some of the comments are priceless.Constant Reader, please refrain from mentioning Paul LoDuca and the outfield. I had a severe flashback this morning after reading that. Bourbon will be required tonight!I can see Harper batting second with Zimm back, but what are people's thoughts about keeping Espi batting second (he seemes to have regained his early season patience and has drawn a couple of walks recently), and putting Harper between Zimm and ALR? Will pitchers walk Zimm to get to Harper? Probably not. But they certainly have to throw pitches to somebody that group.

  23. Tcostant - May 8, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    I just hope Nade isn't the answer, because you want like the question…See link –>http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/05/07/looking-at-mlbs-least-productive-positions-to-date/

  24. jcj5y - May 8, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    Another thought: if Davey wants to strike that left-right balance that's considered ideal (he hasn't really cared much about that to date), couldn't the lineup go Desmond-Lombo/Espinosa-Harper-Zim-LaRoche? Zim would have to buy into it without reservation, but it isn't crazy given all the injuries.

  25. Theophilus T. S. - May 8, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    Harper in the 2-hole makes sense for the next week or so, anyway. I don't expect much out of Zimmerman for the next 7-10 days, given how long he's been out, and you never know whether LaRoche is going to be on an up-streak of a down-streak. Hopefully the ups are more than the downs but he's still a streaky hitter. So the prospect of not seeing a high-average hitter until you get to the fifth spot is very troubling. If Zimmerman and LaRoche are doing well, then I'd favor taking the pressure off Harper and moving him down in the order. There's a very fine line between his present, aggressive approach at the plate and overswinging. The more other teams see of him, the more discrete they will be in pitching to him. I'd hate to see him feel he has to cross that line.

  26. NatsNut - May 8, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    Ohmygosh have we ever come a long way, but I agree with ehay2K, Constant. Please don't mention this again without some kind of warning. Constant Reader said… …While maybe not quite as pitiable as sending Lo Duca or Guzman into the outfield, it could be an adventure.

  27. pdowdy83 - May 8, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    Willingham has 2 more years AFTER this one on his contract. Last year he didn't manage 100 games in the field. He may not be purely a DH yet but he is much more productive in the AL because he can have the option. The DH position is a perfect crutch for him. When his knees are bothering him an AL team can keep him in the lineup and still get production. We don't have that luxury. Also considering Morse is back in a month or so and Werth will be back later this year/next year there isn't much room in the long term picture for a guy with a 3 year deal.Maybe a guy like Carlos Quentin or Chase Headley from the Padres since they don't look to be going anywhere this year. Both could be a nice offensive boost. Headley has the ability to play 3rd or corner outfield and is a switch hitter that has a career OBP over .340. That could be a nice boost to the offense. Also he rakes out of Petco Park. Quentin is basically Willingham on a 1 year deal so the price seems right for the Nats to look at him if they want to add some serious home run pop to the line up.I personally like Headley. He would be able to plug into LF next season if Morse moves to 1st. He gives the lineup a balanced bat by being a switch hitter and he gets on base and runs the bases well. Also would give some really good insurance for a Zimmerman injury. Headley is also going into his 3rd round of arbitration after the year and that might make him more pricey than the Friars want to deal with.

  28. NatsLady - May 8, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    I'm going to give Davey props for not letting this happen after the LA game. Not quite the same circumstance, but still…Here’s what you need to understand. Pirates fans have been through a lot. We were not swayed by the early season success. However, being tied for first place late in July gave us HOPE at the time. Not hope for the playoffs. But hope for a winning season. It all ended in a 19-inning game in Atlanta, in which some say the worst blown call of all time by an umpire (ESPN) occurred. At the time of the game, the Pirates were 53-47 and tied for first. They finished the season 72-90. … It is noteworthy that after the game, Jerry Meals admitted he blew the call. Many believe, as I do, that the team never got over that lost last year. The team was robbed of its momentum and never recovered.nats-vs-pirates-q-and-ahttp://www.yurasko.net/wfy/2012/05/2012-nats-vs-pirates-qa-with-nats-vs-pirates-qa-with-sam-the-maryland-bureau-chief-emeritus.html

  29. fast eddie - May 8, 2012 at 1:21 PM

    Here's a couple of semi-interesting team facts:Batting–Runs–14th in the NLDoubles–1st (who knew?)Triples–16thHR-14th (tied with two others)LOBs: 14th with 214 (216 is 16th)Walks: 5thSBs: 16thPitching:–1st in ERA (by .5 runs!), fewest hits and HRs

  30. Scott from Burke - May 8, 2012 at 1:21 PM

    a corner outfielder batting 8th…ouch

  31. NatsLady - May 8, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    Yes, the Hammer can still hit, and marginally field, but I'm not sure what's being proposed? A 2.5 month "rental" and sell/give him back to the Twins at the trade deadline? (Isn't there some rule about trading a guy back to the team you got him from–I could be wrong.) If he's kept around, when Werth comes back (August?), and assuming Morse is OK, what would be his purpose on the team? A bench guy?(I'm pretty sure you could find an AL team for him in the off-season, I'm not worried about that.)

  32. JB - May 8, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    Agreed on the #2 slot. It was my first thought too. Nice that DJ shows no hesitation in doing such things if the player and situation merit.The most interesting thing will be to see if Tracy and Lombo's hot hitting can carry over to their Goon Squad roles. They both credit the regular ABs for their recent production.NatinBeantown

  33. joe9 - May 8, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    Off topic. I read this morning that Chuck Brown has been in the hospital for the last two months with pneumonia. Perhaps as a tribute to the Godfather of Go-Go, the Nats can go back to playing Bustin' Loose after homers. I can't profess to being a huge fan of go-go, but I always liked the fact that they played the homegrown music of a DC legend at Nats games. Get well soon, Chuck.

  34. A DC Wonk - May 8, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    Abolutely, Harper should be batting 2d — or (as peric suggested) even 1st. When you combine a high OBP with his ability to wreck havoc on the basepaths . . . this is what you need.FWIW, I recall reading that Davey doesn't see Ian as a lead-off hitter — just that Ian is the best option at lead-off for the Nats currently. Perhaps Harper is that man? (Many power hitters with speed have batted first: Barry Bonds and Soriano are two recent ones that come to mind).

  35. UnkyD - May 8, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    UnkuD said:Does anyone know if Rivero can play short? Peric said:Davey had him work at short and he looked good there … there's also Josh Johnson.—————Thanks, Peric. Good to know thats an option. Johnson's not on the 40 man, is he?

  36. Soul Possession, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 8, 2012 at 2:01 PM

    I like "Bustin Loose" a lot better than "Ignite your Natitude" as a promo theme, but in fairness, "Bustin Loose Park" doesn't have the same ring to it, so it's not all bad.

  37. JaneB - May 8, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    Wonk, I had the same thought about Haroer being lead off. Didn't know what they would do to Desi, who seems to be stepping into himself in a new way. But I had visions of Sori in my head when I read this discussion of where to bat Harper. Though the combo of Harper to Zimm to ALR just feels like a wonderful thing, too.Looking forward to seeing what Davey does. And glad that Werth is another day closer to the lineup.

  38. Gonat - May 8, 2012 at 2:06 PM

    I'm ok with giving Bernadina some LH hacks. Would like to see more Lombo at 2nd and maybe batting RH in leftfield.

  39. Gonat - May 8, 2012 at 2:08 PM

    Harper's a rookie. Don't think about lead-off now. The 2 spot or the 3 spot makes most sense. I kind of like the 3 with Lombo at 2. If Lombo is not playing then Harp at 2 should work.

  40. sjm308 - May 8, 2012 at 2:09 PM

    lots of great thoughts this morning!ehay2k – I actually like the idea of Harper in the cleanup spot but I agree with Mark that he will probably hit 2nd. I am going out on a limb and have absolutely nothing to back this up but I feel this will be Bernadina's break through season. If he could just hit .260 with the power he has shown in the past, we would be OK until Morse returns. Our speed in the outfield and on the bases would be excellent. Ankiel and Harper have cannons. Bernadina has shown he can play well in the field, he just needs to get on base. I realize this is about his 5th chance and he has failed in all of his others but I just have a feeling. Again, with Bernadina playing well look at the speed we have on this team. The only players who are station to station are LaRoche and Ramos and even Ramos shows pretty good speed for a catcher. Again,nothing but hope here, no stats or reason for optimism.Back on topics of the morning. The more I think about it, the more Espinosa makes sense as the utility player and not Lombardozi.Looking for 9 out of 10 series starting tonight!!GoNats!

  41. hiramhover - May 8, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    I'm enjoying Harper's perforance to date, and am really impressed by his approach at the place. But let's slow down. 34 PAs is a little early to crown him King of OBP. His OBP in the minors was good but not off the charts (~.330 at AA/AAA). Davey's already demoted Espinosa in the batting order–since there's no long-term tenant in the #2 hole, I wouldn't be surprised to see Bryce there. But Davey seems pleased with Desmond, and so kicking him out of the lead-off spot would be an odd way to show it–really out of character for Davey.

  42. hiramhover - May 8, 2012 at 2:12 PM

    erm … "approach at the plate"

  43. jcj5y - May 8, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    If there's one spot in the order that's completely secure right now, it's probably Desmond at leadoff. He's performing, and he wants to hit there. No way Davey messes with that. Everything else is up for grabs.I'm on board with Harper-Zim-LaRoche, to try and get Harper gets some pitches to hit. It would make more sense to me if they were 3-4-5 instead of 2-3-4.

  44. Tcostant - May 8, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    I like the idea of Harper batting in from of Zimm, he should get more pitches to hit. With that said, I would play Lombardozzi regular (in both LF and 2B) and bat him second until futher notice. So Lombardozzi, then Harper, then Zimm and LaRoche.

  45. A DC Wonk - May 8, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    Totally off topic, but just had to mentionI like "Bustin Loose" a lot better than "Ignite your Natitude" as a promo theme, but in fairness, "Bustin Loose Park" doesn't have the same ring to it, so it's not all bad.It's probably been years, but . . . my wife and I hadn't realized it before this week: we were thrilled _not_ to hear "Sweet Caroline"!

  46. A DC Wonk - May 8, 2012 at 2:31 PM

    But let's slow down. 34 PAs is a little early to crown him King of OBP.Agreed . . . but, perhaps the rumors are true: that he is more relaxed up here than at the 'Cuse. He will go through hitting slumps — but his eye is obviously good as is his measured and smart approach to each at bat. That would seem to predict a solid OBP in the future.

  47. TimDz - May 8, 2012 at 2:35 PM

    What about moving Zimmerman down in the lineup for the first few games, say in the six or seven hole?This way, if he rakes, there will be some pop at the bottom of the order and if he struggles, there won't bet any gnashing of teeth watching him hit into double plays.Just a thought, please refrain from name calling, but I would appreciate opposing views and arguments.

  48. UnkyD - May 8, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    Just wanted to say thanks, to 1A and joe Seamhead, for their kind words, on one of yesterday's threads…. You rock!

  49. Marty - May 8, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    @jcj5y – re: Desmond – I don't disagree with you that Davey isn't going to mess with Desmond at lead-off, but let's not pretend that he is some amazing lead-off hitter. His OPS leaves a bit to be desired.@TimDz – Who are you going to replace Zimm with? Some combination of Zimm and Laroche is pretty much our only hope for getting Harper some protection right now.

  50. sjm308 - May 8, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    No name calling TimDZ but I think Zimm has been batting 3rd for so long that its his most comfortable spot. Not to compare him to Werth but look how Riggs bounced him all over the lineup last year and how did that work? One thing Davey has tried to do is give these guys an idea of where they will hit and leave them alone. I think this has worked with Desmond and why I would leave Zimm 3rd. Again, just my thoughts and they are almost never based on anything but gut reactions.

  51. sjm308 - May 8, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    unkd – not sure you saw my post but I also praised you for your great retraction – was very classy and lots of us here appreciate that kind of demeanor here. "stay classy San Diego"

  52. Soul Possession, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 8, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    Unky, no, Johnson is not on the Nationals' 40-man roster.

  53. TimDz - May 8, 2012 at 2:52 PM

    Marty, I was thinking:SS Desmond2B LombarddozziRF Harper1B LaRocheCF Ankiel3B ZimmermanC RamosLF BernadinaIf Espinosa plays 2B and Flores catches:SS DesmondRF HarperCF Ankiel (been hitting lately, so why not?)1B LaRocheC Flores3B Zimmerman2B EspinosaLF BernadinaThis could work…of course it could also explain why I am not a manager…

  54. sjm308 - May 8, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    On a totally different topic.I realize he is the butt of all future trades made by our team, and I also realize I don't look into deep stats but Cutter Dykstra is having a very nice start to his season. I believe he is hitting over .350 and he is leading off. It would be just icing on the cake if our "bag of balls" for Nyjer actually turned into something that could help the team. I am guessing that Cutter is probably pretty old for this level but at least he is playing well. Thoughts?

  55. bowdenball - May 8, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    hiramhover-Great point, but if I might make a counterpoint: his AA/AAA numbers aren't really a huge sample size either. Less than half a season at both levels combined, and his OBP at Single-A and the AFL was very high as well.Also I've heard others comment that Harper may have been a bit bored at AA/AAA, similar to Hanley Ramirez, another highly regarded prospect whose numbers actually improved when he made the leap from AA to the majors.Still like you say, it's a small sample size and we shouldn't expect it to continue. Harper is amazing, but that would be asking too much.

  56. sjm308 - May 8, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    Sofa – I am late to this but which Johnson are you guys talking about?

  57. John - May 8, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    I think the team is putting an emphasis on defense (Rizzo has said this much post-Willingham). Therefore, I don't anticipate seeing much of Lombo, Moore, or Tracy in the outfield. It's one of the main reasons why I believe Espinosa will remain a starter at 2nd for the foreseeable future.

  58. sjm308 - May 8, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    John – agreed on the defense which is why I like Bernadina in left. Lombo won the gold glove last year in the minors at 2nd and we know Espinosa can play both 2nd and SS well so its not for defense that Espinosa stays at 2nd. Its because Davey really wants the kid to work through this.

  59. whatsanattau - May 8, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    Unkd, I had not read the threads from yesterday because there was so much news to read, so when I saw your note today I went back and checked them out. Nicely Done. Your back on my must read list. (not that I'm keeping score, or self appointed or anything, but I do just jump over the comments of a few posters here so as not to aggrevate myself).

  60. UnkyD - May 8, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    I did not see that, sjm… but thanks! I'll go look for it!

  61. Soul Possession, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 8, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    Change of topic, and back to an old … well, favorite may not be the right word. [I think the phrase you're looking for is "dead horse," Sofa...] But an interesting story nonetheless, following on TBTP. The perils of rebuilding: how "the right way" in theory can be absolutely the wrong way in real lifeHe somehow leaves out the Nationals ("We don't get no respect, I tellya!"), maybe because of things like signing Werth, and over-slot draft deals, but still makes the point that the team can't rebuild indefinitely, and not lose the fan base.

  62. Soul Possession, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 8, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    sjm–UnkyD said… UnkuD said: Does anyone know if Rivero can play short? Peric said: Davey had him work at short and he looked good there … there's also Josh Johnson. ————— Thanks, Peric. Good to know thats an option. Johnson's not on the 40 man, is he? May 08, 2012 9:52 AM

  63. whatsanattau - May 8, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    BTW, this isn't the Mets or the 1980's, but Davey is the same guy who played HoJo at short and Mitchell in the Outfield and 3B to get more offense in the lineup on those championship teams. I think he values defense very much, but he has demonstrated the ability to compromise when appropriate. If he thought Tracy or Lombo could help in the outfield more than his outfielders, he would play them.

  64. Tcostant - May 8, 2012 at 3:10 PM

    Just want to note, because I saw some roster posts, that the Nats only need to put Werth on the 60 Day DL top open up a spot on the 40 Man Roster.

  65. Soul Possession, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 8, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    Just to finish that thought–Rizzo isn't writing off 2012 as another rebuilding year, and that's a good thing. Necessary, even.

  66. #4 - May 8, 2012 at 3:35 PM

    I like Harper in the 2 hole. Get him up as often as possible right now. One of my fears when I coached was having my best hitter on deck when the last out was made because I had made a effort to spread out the line up a bit. I learned early that you win by batting your best players as often as possible.Zim almost certainly will bat third. This is his team, and he is accorded the respect that goes with that. Not that it ever happened, but could you imagine Orioles batting Ripken 6th or 7th after returning from an injury? Of course not.

  67. #4 - May 8, 2012 at 3:37 PM

    Yet another reason to love Jim Leyland in the article above – old school indeed.

  68. Fear and Ignorance - May 8, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    Would love to trade for Jeff Francouer if he can be had on the cheap. If the Royals continue to stink, they will definitely look to unload him due to his contract. We would probably have to give up a couple prospects for him, but he just turned 28 and had a very good year in 2011. .285 with 20 HR, 87 RBI, 47 doubles, 22 SB and 16 assists from RF and had the best range factor of any RF in the league. Could you imagine an OF of Harper, Francouer, Ankiel. Now that would be the best outfield of arms ever assembled in the major leagues.

  69. peric - May 8, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    Okay I like this lineup. Still think Harper should lead off and Desmond bat 2nd. Desmond's IBP is way low. Bernadina and his gold glove defense in left is what got therm here the pitchers will appreciate it.

  70. bowdenball - May 8, 2012 at 3:56 PM

    Francouer is an interesting idea but he's not a cure for what ails the Nats without LaRoche. He has a career OBP of just .313 and his OBP in 2012 so far is .304. He has some power but he hasn't shown it yet in 2012, slugging only .337. If he shows it, and the Nats are in contention he's worth a try I guess. He certainly wouldn't cost them very much in the way of prospects, since the Royals would be happy just to unload is $7 million a year contract if they don't plan on contending this year or next. One thing he could replace in Werth's absence is that he's very much fan-friendly. He's been known to order pizza for the fans in the RF stands and even tossed a ball with $100 in beer money to them earlier this season.

  71. UnkyD - May 8, 2012 at 3:56 PM

    #4 said:"Zim almost certainly will bat third. This is his team, and he is accorded the respect that goes with that. Not that it ever happened, but could you imagine Orioles batting Ripken 6th or 7th after returning from an injury? Of course not."———Returning from an injury?! That's the hard part to imagine…;-)

  72. bowdenball - May 8, 2012 at 3:56 PM

    First sentence should say "without Werth."

  73. SCNatsFan - May 8, 2012 at 4:23 PM

    bowdenball Francouer did that on the road for opposing fans. How cool was that.

  74. Tom in AR - May 8, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    UnkyD – As much as I love Zimmerman, that is one thing that truly separates him from the Ironman.But I definitely think that the #3 spot is his any time that he laces them up. I would choose:LomboHarperZimLaRocheDesmondAnkielRamosSharkPitcher

  75. Tom in AR - May 8, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    If I were betting, it would be: DesmondHarperZimLaRocheAnkielEspinosaNadyRamosPitcher

  76. whatsanattau - May 8, 2012 at 4:44 PM

    Burnett is a righty. So Bernadina….Next 5: R, L, R, R, R

  77. greg - May 8, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    i honestly don't see espinosa losing his 2B job in the near future or desmond losing the leadoff spot either. now if we get close to the AS break and espi is still looking up at mendoza and lombo is still hitting, that may change. but not in may.

  78. jeffwx - May 8, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    Looking at Danny's trends there is some signs of life

  79. jeffwx - May 8, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    Danny's last 3 games, he's 3-10 with 2 walks and a run scored.Fri 2-3 with a walkSat 1-4 Sun 0-3 with a walkMaybe, he's gettin his groove back or maybe just random noise. I'm bettin on Danny this week.

  80. UnkyD - May 8, 2012 at 4:52 PM

    Anybody know if DeRosa has begun to engage in "baseball activities"?

  81. Section 222 - May 8, 2012 at 4:53 PM

    I think someone mentioned this earlier but I can't find it now. But I agree with that person, whoever he or she may be, that another option is to bat Harper 3d, Zim 4th, and AlR 5th. Zim has batted cleanup before, it's really where your best hitter should bat, protects Harper, and it preserves a L, R, L lineup in the middle to discourage LOOGY use in the late innings. All in all, I'd prefer to see Harper 2nd, but if Davey wants him up with men on base, it might be an option. Against a RHP, if Harper bats 3rd, I'd bat Ankiel 2nd, and put Espi there against lefties. Unfortunately, I don't see Rizzo making any move to acquire an outfielder. He seems set on going with what we have. The problem is that there's a decent chance that either Morse or Werth will be out longer than expected. And I don't think our current crop of reserve outfielders are going to be good enough, offensively or defensively, to get us through.Finally, LoDuca in the OF was a joke, and Guzman in the outfield was a cruel joke, and lost a game for us. I don't think Davey is going to put Lombo in that position. But we may see Desmond and Espi getting more frequent days off, which would be a good thing for all concerned probably.

  82. jeffwx - May 8, 2012 at 4:55 PM

    Agree that Desmond would not be choice for leadoff for this team. Personally, I like (someone may have already posted it):LomboHarperZimmLaRocheDesmondAnkielEspinosaRamos

  83. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 8, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    jeffwx, BABIP on the balls in play eventually find holes. Danny is not out of his deep funk yet. Friday's lucky bounce hit seemed to give him a little spark and on Sunday he was back to swing and miss and swing and foul. He just isn't solidly connecting. With some players with good mechanics who go into slumps, its in their heads. Danny doesn't have real solid mechanics. He overcame it in the past as pitchers came inside on him and that was in his hot zone. For his last 100 games they are pitching him up, outside, and down beneath the strike zone. He chases pitches that aren't strikes and gets himself in too many 2 strike counts. A few times they have come over the plate and he has missed them.Now that they aren't pitching Danny inside, I don't think he has any HBPs this year while last year he led the team in HBPs.

  84. A DC Wonk - May 8, 2012 at 5:02 PM

    Re: Cutter Dykstrahttp://www.milb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?sid=milb&t=p_pbp&pid=543127He's hitting .368, he's still 22 for another month-and-a-half — which is actually around the average for the guys on Hagerstown.A pleasant surprise!

  85. jeffwx - May 8, 2012 at 5:02 PM

    Section 222, agree with your post except for trades. You may be right regarding Lombo. Wang and Storen are on their way back, so we'll need to make room for them in the Majors. Our OF situation is tenuous esp. if we lose another one (Ankiel has been known to get hurt) so something will have to give. A trade, I think is likely given we are one of the only teams with so much pitching while others like the Red Sox and Yankees (signing Mark Prior and Andy Pettite, respectively) pin their hopes on retirees to be their number 3,4,5 pitcher.

  86. jeffwx - May 8, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    Well Ghost, I hope you're wrong…I still like the walks and the hits however he gets them.However, your argument is sound.

  87. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 8, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    On lead-off on this team, nobody has really fit the spot as your prototypical player. Lombo could be that guy, but then again, he is a Rookie. Desmond's #'s first time through the order is bad, but gets better as the game progresses.I like Lombo in the 2 hole for now. If he isn't playing, give Bryce Harper a chance there with Zim behind him.

  88. kc21 - May 8, 2012 at 5:06 PM

    1 Lombardozzi, 2B2 Desmond, SS3 Zimm, 3B4 LaRoche, 1B5 Harper, RF6 Ankiel, CF7 Moore/Tracy, LF8 Ramos C

  89. peric - May 8, 2012 at 5:07 PM

    Rizzo had Willingham and he wanted to stay. There is a reason why they traded him. He's not an OF he's a DH and not an NL player.Nine year old fantasy types are polluting this blog as idiotic as Redskins fans,

  90. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 8, 2012 at 5:10 PM

    jeffwx said… Well Ghost, I hope you're wrong…I still like the walks and the hits however he gets them.However, your argument is sound. May 08, 2012 1:03 PM I like Danny. Its nothing personal. I call it like I see it. He had a good Friday and Saturday. Batting from his stronger side on Sunday, and back to the left side as a pinch hitter, he was back at the swing and miss.Hamels is a d–che but he also has ace stuff. He shut down almost everybody (except Harper) and made many look bad.Hopefully Danny can take his confidence forward and build on it. I am rooting for the guy to succeed.

  91. NatsLady - May 8, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    One thing we know about Rizzo is he doesn't panic. I say he waits a few days to see how Bernadina is doing and what's available at what price, then makes a move. It's just too chancy to operate with so little depth in the outfield.Off-topic, but ordering Mother's Day gifts–wow, the shipping!!CNW watch: Wang is slated to pitch for the Chiefs against the Durham Bulls in Wednesday night's game starting at 7:00pm. The 2006 American League Cy Young runner-up is currently 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA in two starts on a rehab stint between Advanced-A Potomac and Class-A Hagerstown.The right-hander has tossed 10 innings and has allowed seven hits, three runs (two earned) and one walks while striking out ten.In another article, he said his speed is not up to par, and he needs to face "stronger batters."

  92. Marty - May 8, 2012 at 5:15 PM

    @peric – Nine year old fantasy types are polluting this blog as idiotic as Redskins fans, Thank goodness then that we have you to raise the level of discourse…

  93. Tcostant - May 8, 2012 at 5:16 PM

    Section 222m I said that (Harper 3d, Zim 4th, and AlR 5th); here is the lineup I would like:1 Desmond, SS 2 Lombardozzi, 2B3 Harper, RF4 Zimm, 3B5 LaRoche, 1B6 Ankiel, CF7 Moore/Tracy, LF8 Ramos CI like this alot!

  94. natsfan1a - May 8, 2012 at 5:18 PM

    From Mark's Tweeter thingy at top of this page:#Nats have activated Ryan Zimmerman off the DL and placed Jayson Werth on it.From me: Yay!!

  95. natsfan1a - May 8, 2012 at 5:18 PM

    (It likely goes without saying that the "yay" was for Zimm's activation but just in case…)

  96. NatsLady - May 8, 2012 at 5:22 PM

    peric, my point exactly. I don't want to call anyone "idiotic," because people should be able to post their ideas without name-calling, really. Sometimes a far-fetched proposal comes to pass–not often, but it happens. Let's just say Willingham's not a good fit because we need more than a bat, we need someone who can defend in the outfield, and hopefully someone who can stay healthy. The chances of the Hammer returning are, like–how many ML players are there?–to 1.

  97. Dave - May 8, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    Peric, I almost always appreciate your baseball insights. However, you are moving toward my "scroll-past" list because of your name-calling and general rudeness. Can you offer your frequently very good thoughts without resorting to snark?

  98. whatsanattau - May 8, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    I respectfully request you take it down a notch. (And if you don't know who "you" is, I guess it ain't happening anyhow)

  99. kc21 - May 8, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    I gotta believe that Rizzo is working the phones now that Werth is out. He's not replaceable with what we have now, not even close.I'd love to get Francoeur or Carlos Quentin. But, what do you do when Werth returns? I bet we go for a veteran that can play good defense and start for 3 months until Werth returns.Mark Kotsay? Vladdy? Or, maybe the Yankees and RedSox who are starving for pitching make a hail mary for Lannan or Maya or Wang (when he's eligible to be traded). Maybe they go for Gorzelanny who except for 1 bad outing has pitched well or Mattheus?Cody Ross?Ryan Sweeney?Marlon Byrd?Andruw Jones?Brett Gardner?Raul Ibanez?Another idea is to trade for a good 2B and let Espi work things out in the minors.

  100. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 8, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    Desi SSLombo 2BHarper RFZim 3BLaRoche 1BMoore/Bernadina LFAnkiel CFRamos CTracy got hot over the weekend. Tracy played a lot of Outfield in 2005. That was a long time ago. Not sure how you get him some ABs. May 07, 2012 11:01 AM That was my lineup I did yesterday. Notice "No Nady" and Espi becomes a backup. Hope they can find a way to get Tracy more playing time.

  101. Steady Eddie - May 8, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    Marty @ 1:15 — well played.

  102. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 8, 2012 at 5:37 PM

    natsfan1a said… From Mark's Tweeter thingy at top of this page:#Nats have activated Ryan Zimmerman off the DL and placed Jayson Werth on it.From me: Yay!! May 08, 2012 1:18 PM And as they say on Death Row, Nady or Espi or Moore got a reprieve.Of course it was going to be Zim for Werth. The bigger question is nearer term before Beast Mode returns, how long do you stick with Nady and Espi?Moore is fine but Davey doesn't seem like he wants to play him much. If he won't play him, bring up Corey Brown.I still want to see what Bernadina can do with some regular playing time. He has contributed off the bench along with Tracy as 2 decent bench players.

  103. hiramhover - May 8, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    NatsladyThere is some hope – the chance of rain is 20-40% by gametime.As for this talk of trades–it does seem premature at this point. Seems more likely that Rizzo waits closer to the trade deadline–to see what happens with Morse; to see who's a contender and who's not, and how the trade market shapes up; to see if any of the Nats cheap in-house options (Lombo, Moore, Brown) could step up if given the chance.

  104. Steady Eddie - May 8, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    NatsLady — thanks for the heads-up on weather, but thunderstorms have a way of being unpredictable. Friday night forecast for Nats Park was 65% at 9 pm, 75% at 10 pm, and nary a drop showed up, thankfully. The 11 innings went on long enough (just!) themselves without a rain delay on top of them. (Though the 2 walkoffs last August both had lengthy rain delays, that didn't make them fun with the Philly invasion.)

  105. Soul Possession, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 8, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    MLB Trade Rumors has outside volunteers who moderate the comments. Just sayin.

  106. bowdenball - May 8, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    Once you click to the hourly view the forecast looks much better. There may be a delay at some point but I'd be surprised if they don't play this one.

  107. Section 222 - May 8, 2012 at 5:43 PM

    I'd just be really surprised if Lombo replaces Espi at 2B. I'd like to see it, but I doubt Davey will do it, except occasionally. I second @Dave's very diplomatic request of @Peric. Besides, there's nothing that could happen on this blog that would make me compare the commenters here to Redskins fans. 60% chance of rain and scattered thundershowers doesn't sound like a quick rainout call, but rather a long night in Pgh.

  108. natsfan1a - May 8, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    I was happy to see RZ activated, as we've heard before that a player was ready to return and then heard about an additional delay. But thanks for sharing.Of course it was going to be Zim for Werth.

  109. rabbit34 - May 8, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    It may not be the perfect lineup, but it looks a lot better no matter how it is configured….without Werth in it.

  110. Kirbs - May 8, 2012 at 5:46 PM

    I believe lombo has won the 2b job….otherwise LF for him.

  111. natsfan1a - May 8, 2012 at 5:46 PM

    Eh, we've dealt with rain in Pittsburgh before. I think it rained every day last year when my husband and visited for the first time during the Nats road series. Nonetheless, loved the park and the city (and the game we attended wasn't too shabby either :-)).

  112. Marty - May 8, 2012 at 5:47 PM

    kc21 – Vladdy?The consensus on Vlad is that his knees are DH only.However, I do think that come June when the Nats head to Boston, if Morse isn't ready to DH and DeRosa is still flirting with sub-.100, it would be a nice full-circle gesture by the Nats to bring Vladdy on board for a month.

  113. sjm308 - May 8, 2012 at 6:02 PM

    I realize people on here love to play GM & so do I but it's still early to be making all those fantasy moves (in my opinion). What I like about Davey more and more is how he shows confidence in his guys and this has to help them. Now, it can backfire – see Stairs,Matt – but lets just hope Nady starts to see the ball and that Ankiel, Tracy, Lombo stay hot and LaRoche and Zimm come back with great fire and my last hope is that Peric learns some manners. (I can dream can't I?)

  114. sjm308 - May 8, 2012 at 6:03 PM

    Sofa, Wonk & unkyd – thank you!

  115. dhall88 - May 8, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    Anyone but Nady in the lineup to replace Werth and I'll be happy. The rest I trust Davey to put together what works best. That is all.

  116. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 8, 2012 at 6:18 PM

    I said early in Spring Training that Lombo should get some LF time which Davey ended up trying out. When I first said that, it was because it looked like Espi was going to block Lombo's playing time at 2nd. Right now, Lombo is the best option at 2nd base.Davey/Rizzo need to decide if Espi has any chance of sustaining any type of success at the plate given his poor mechanics or should he be sent to the Minors to work on his mechanics.If you are going to be a playoff baseball team, sometimes really tough decisions have to be made.

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