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Game 45: Nats at Braves

May 25, 2012, 8:10 PM EDT

US Presswire file photo
The Nats open a big weekend series tonight at Turner Field.

In his seemingly never-ending quest to find a competent left fielder — not to mention a competent leadoff man — Davey Johnson's roulette wheel has stopped on Steve Lombardozzi. The rookie infielder has made a strong case for himself, both at the plate (he's hitting .317 with a .385 on-base percentage) and in the field (he's made a couple of nice plays while learning the outfield on the fly).

So tonight, in the opener of perhaps their biggest series of the season to date, the Nationals will have Lombardozzi in left field and leading off for the third time in four games. It worked twice in Philadelphia; might as well give it a shot in Atlanta.

It'll take a strong offensive performance from the Nats' lineup, top to bottom, to beat Tim Hudson (owner of a 13-3 record and 2.09 ERA in his career against them). And it'll take a strong start from Ross Detwiler (who has allowed 10 earned runs over his last 10 innings).

Unfortunately, I'm not in Atlanta for this weekend showdown, but I will be in Miami starting Monday for the Nationals' first series at Marlins Park. Until then, enjoy the big game and the conversation…

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at ATLANTA BRAVES
Where: Turner Field
Gametime: 7:35 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 184
Weather: Partly cloudy, 86 degrees, Wind 1 mph in from RF

NATIONALS (26-18)
LF Steve Lombardozzi
RF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche

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NL EAST STANDINGS

WLGB
NEW YORK7459
WASHINGTON68656.0
MIAMI557919.5
ATLANTA548020.5
PHILADELPHIA538121.5
*Through Thursday's games

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PITTSBURGH7953+4.0
CHICAGO7557
SAN FRANCISCO69657.0
WASHINGTON68657.5
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