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Today's lineups

Nyjer Morgan is back atop the Nationals lineup, returning to the leadoff spot while Cristian Guzman moves back to No. 2. The two-game experiment seemed to work, as the Nats, after scoring 13 runs in four games, scored 21 in two. (It of course helped that they face the Astros and not the Giants and Padres.)

In their past two games, Morgan went 5 for 9 with a walk and six runs and Guzman went 4 for 11 with a double and four runs. This is the first game since the switch the Nationals are facing a left-handed starter, Houston's Wandy Rodriguez. Guzman has been a monster against lefties this year, hitting .400 with a .509 slugging percentage. Perhaps Manager Jim Riggleman wants to give him a chance to drive in Morgan should he reach. Maybe Riggleman is just convinced the short time away from the top spot righted Morgan. We'll find out.

Here's the rest of each lineup, including a rare start for Michael Morse with a lefty on the bump.

Nationals
1. Nyjer Morgan, CF
2. Cristian Guzman, 2B
3. Adam Dunn, 1B
4. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B
5. Josh Willingham, LF
6. Ian Desmond, SS
7. Michael Morse, RF
8. Wil Nieves, C
9. John Lannan, SP

Astros
1. Michael Bourn, CF
2. Jeff Keppinger, 2B
3. Lance Berkman, 1B
4. Carlos Lee, LF
5. Hunter Pence, RF
6. Pedro Feliz, 3B
7. Tony Manzella, SS
8. Humberto Quinetro, C
9. Wandy Rodriguez, SP

By Adam Kilgore  |  June 2, 2010; 4:03 PM ET
 
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Comments

I think Wandy Rodriguez is an SP not a C Adam?

Posted by: periculum | June 2, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

So is Dunn batting 3rd vs LHP the new normal? I wonder if it's because Dunn needs Zim's protection (and Hammer) vs Lefties...

Posted by: estuartj | June 2, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

peric - It's his brother Wany

Posted by: Sunderland | June 2, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Can't remember, have we seen a Dunn 3rd/Zimm 4th lineup before?

Posted by: HotNats | June 2, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

I think Dunn batting 3rd is more a way to get Zimmerman better pitches to hit, with Hammer lurking in the on deck circle.

Dunn is having such a lackluster year, it's odd.
His numbers don't look terrible, but his situational stats are, frankly awful.

Runners in Scoring Position, AVG .167, SLG .271

RISP with 2 outs? 0 for 20, zero RBI.

It just seems like nearly every pitcher feels like they can get him out when they need to.

Thus, having Zimmerman in front of Dunn means in late inning situations, Zimm gets pitched around and they go after Dunn.

Posted by: Sunderland | June 2, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Why mess with success Riggs should have left Guz#1 and Morgan in the #2 spot and bat Dunn #5 let JWill have a shot at some of those duck's on the pond.

Posted by: dargregmag | June 2, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

The team needs to figure out what to do with Dunn. He is no offensive asset, especially when he leaves the bases loaded. Maybe we need a new first baseman.

Posted by: jjburns1 | June 2, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

HotNats: srsly? Thrice this year, and twice in the last week (Thurs and Fri against Jints and Padres).

Posted by: Scooter_ | June 2, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

jjburns1, given the other priorities, we take what we have with Dunn and see what Rizzo thinks come year end.
It's not like Chris Duncan is the answer. We have no better options within the organization, and so we deal, we love, and we hope.

Posted by: Sunderland | June 2, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Dargreg, Here's what I think Riggleman decided about the lineup.

If he moves Dunn up to the #3 hole, he does not want Nyjer in the #2 spot and have Wandy Rodriguez get to have two lefties in a row at the top of the order.

So, if he moves Dunn to 3, he puts Morgan at 1 to split up the lefties.

I would like to see the lineup tonight as:
Guzman - S
Desmond - R
Dunn - L
Zimmerman - R
Hammer - R
Morse - R
Nieves - R
Lannan - R
Morgan - L

But that's a bit too far out of the box for Riggleman right now.

Posted by: Sunderland | June 2, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Ah, thx Scooter, my bad...

Posted by: HotNats | June 2, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

It may be more complicated than this, but I think Riggleman has said that he likes batting Dunn third against lefties so that the opposing team can't intentionally walk Zimmerman to get to a lefty-lefty matchup against Dunn. It's a strategy for the early innings, rather than late innings when there very well might be a righty reliever.

Makes sense to me and why not mix it up a bit. I think most statheads would say that your best hitter should go in the four hole, not the three hole, and against lefties especially, that's clearly Zimmerman (or maybe the Hammer right now...)

Posted by: Section222 | June 2, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

I'm sick of seeing that ball soar in the Minute Maid outfield. This would be a great night for Lannan to show off his ground ball inducing powers. 14 Padre ground balls last Friday - was his second best effort of the season (16 v Mil in April).

Posted by: Kev29 | June 2, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

The Astros are really awful. Cmon now. Gotta take care of bidness these next 2 games. Now is the time to really start moving. But I don't think I can watch Stammen pitch or hit anymo. That guy stinks.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 2, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

I would like to see catcher Carlos Maldonado get a few days in a row playing time to see what he can do. You never know with players who have been pidgeon-holed somewhere when the ol' light switch might go on! Go Nats! Pat from Bowie

Posted by: patsgrill4U | June 2, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

I don't mind the Nyjer/Guzman flip flop back to 1 & 2. I like the idea of Guz coming up and making contact with a fast guy on base in front of him (I hope). Even in his slump, Nyjer was more likely to get on than Lannan. I think dargregmag is on to something in suggesting Willingham 4th and Dunn 5th.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | June 2, 2010 5:45 PM | Report abuse

222 - actually, stat heads might want your best hitters #1, #2, and #4. Perhaps it is as simple as taking Riggs line up, shifting ##2 - 9 up one, and dropping Nyjer to "second leadoff" a LaRussa.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | June 2, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

dovelevine: You're right,because trust me Dusty Baker and the Natti's are thinking sweep with the rookie phenom Mike Leake pitching saturday(nice article about Leake SS ex teamate in the usa today,wed.edition)the Red's can hit,pitch and play good defense so the Nat's need to make hay while they can and go into the weekend series with some momentum.

Posted by: dargregmag | June 2, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Dusty Baker in a pennant race? Calling Dr. Andrews, Dr. James Andrews, your next Tommy John appointment is here.

Posted by: thelonghaul | June 2, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

>>Dusty Baker and the Natti's are thinking sweep

Not! Mr. Harang meet Livo.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 2, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

I suspect (hope? finally?) Riggleman is beginning to see the light ...

He put a guy closer to the top of lineup WHO ACTUALLY WALKS and
walks a lot! (Dunn)

Posted by: periculum | June 2, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Dunn's walks are worth much at all, and I think his selective-ness hurts him.
He walked 11 times in the first 8 games, and concluded that stretch with a .136 batting average.
He's only walked 19 times in the 44 games since then. (so he's really not walking much at all this year, far less than previous years)

His longest stretch without taking a walk ended just yesterday, he went 10 games without walking. He hit .333 during that stretch, raising his season average from .257 to .274.

He needs to swing more, look less. Be less selective, be more imposing.

Posted by: Sunderland | June 2, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Anybody seen/taken this Nats reader survey MASN is doing? Just took it a while ago. Interesting idea.

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/masnnationals

Posted by: Ryan_13 | June 2, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: itkonlyyou97s | June 2, 2010 10:03 PM | Report abuse

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