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Game 45: Nats at Giants

May 20, 2013, 10:50 PM EDT

Associated Press
Beautiful AT&T Park hosts the Nationals for the next three days.

What's the best cure for a struggling lineup? How about the return of its best hitter from injury? Bryce Harper is back tonight for the Nationals, having missed the last two games in San Diego over the weekend with a bruised knee (from his collision with the wall in L.A. one week ago). His presence in the No. 3 spot really does make that starting lineup look a lot more formidable, especially with Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche each on a tear at the plate right now.

The Nationals might need an offensive explosion tonight, because they're sending to the mound someone who wasn't in their original Opening Day rotation for the first time this season. With Ross Detwiler hampered by a slight oblique strain, Zach Duke gets the nod for his first MLB start since 2011. The veteran lefty has been erratic out of the bullpen so far, but his background is as a starter, so perhaps he'll be more comfortable taking the ball for the first inning tonight.

Duke will be working with Jhonatan Solano, getting a rare start behind the plate. Struggling Ryan Vogelsong is on the mound for the defending World Series champion Giants, who are struggling themselves at the moment and desperately need to get themselves back on track.

As you know, I'm not on this West Coast trip, but I'll be staying up late and watching along with the rest of you. Enjoy the game and the conversation…

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
Where: AT&T Park
Gametime: 10:15 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500), XM 189
Weather: Clear, 63 degrees, Wind 6 mph out to RF

NATIONALS (23-21)
CF Denard Span
2B Steve Lombardozzi
RF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman

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Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 58 47 --
ATLANTA 58 49 1.0
MIAMI 53 54 6.0
NEW YORK 52 56 7.5
PHILADELPHIA 47 61 12.5
Through Wednesday's early games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
THU: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Orioles at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

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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