Apr 25, 2013, 7:25 PM EDT
Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Reds are in town for a four-game series starting tonight.
Having lost four straight and nine of 12, with a lineup that has produced a run in only two of their last 37 innings, the Nationals will try to get back on track tonight against a tough Reds club that already took two-of-three from them three weekends ago in Cincinnati.
They'll do so with a new-look lineup, as promised last night by Davey Johnson. Steve Lombardozzi takes over at third base, batting second. Jayson Werth, meanwhile, gets bumped down to the cleanup spot. While it's not an ideal position for him long-term, it does make some sense right now. With Ryan Zimmerman on the DL and Adam LaRoche strug-a-ling big-time, the Nats need to offer some kind of protection for Bryce Harper.
The reconfigured lineup may or may not help. Either way, the Nationals also need a better performance out of Gio Gonzalez, who has quietly been all over the place so far this season, certainly not up to his 21-win level of a year ago. The key for Gio: Get early strikes and quick outs, something he's struggled in particular to do in 2013.
I'll have the early-game updates and analysis for you here, but then I'll handing the reins over
CINCINNATI REDS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), XM 186
Weather: Clear, 62 degrees, Wind 5 mph out to LF
CF Denard Span
3B Steve Lombardozzi
LF Bryce Harper
RF Jayson Werth
NL EAST STANDINGS
Through Friday's games
NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS
Through Friday's games
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Marlins at Nats (DH), 1:05 p.m., 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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- Zimmerman rejoining Nats, likely to play Saturday
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- Gonzalez makes case for postseason start
- Bryce, Gio continue late-season surge in 6-2 win
- NL Playoff Outlook: What stars will give the Nationals trouble?
- LaRoche gets extra day off to rest ailing back
- MLB Power Rankings: Tigers righting the ship