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Today's lineup

As expected, Ryan Zimmerman will receive his first scheduled day off of the season and first day out of the lineup, period, since April 28. Willie Harris will play third and bat second. With Ross Detwiler making his 2010 debut and opposing right-hander Dave Bush, here's how the rest of the Nats' lineup is reconfigured in Zimmerman's absence.

1. Nyjer Morgan, CF
2. Willie Harris, 3B
3. Josh Willingham, LF
4. Adam Dunn, 1B
5. Roger Bernadina, RF
6. Ivan Rodriguez, C
7. Adam Kennedy, 2B
8. Ian Desmond, SS
9. Ross Detwiler, SP

By Adam Kilgore  |  July 25, 2010; 10:50 AM ET
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Whatever happened to Riggleman's plan to start batting Desmond second more often? He's done it exactly once since he announced it over a week ago. His stated reason for not doing it before was because he didn't have anyone else to bat 8th. Which of course we all know is code for "when Guzman's playing, he needs to bat second." But today Guzman's not playing and I see at least three other guys in the lineup who could bat 8th (Harris, Kennedy, Pudge). So why isn't Desmond batting second?

Posted by: nunof1 | July 25, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

A drumbeat please . . . for the Willie Harris hatred . . . .

Posted by: paulkp | July 25, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

To me, it's not so much 'why isn't Desmond batting 2nd?' as it is 'why did Riggs talk last week about batting Desmond 2nd?".

If Riggleman had just stayed quiet, we'd be seeing Desmond in his usual 8 hole and there'd be little reaction to it.
Riggleman respects the veterans so much, it's not surprising Harris is batting 2nd.

BTW, that quote about "...we had no one else to bat eighth..." was hilarious.
We got about 6 guys who could bat 8!
We don't really have a guy to bat 1!

As weak as this lineup looks, that when the baseball gods often smile upon your team.

Posted by: Sunderland | July 25, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Morse is a third baseman......... Harris is a has been

Posted by: chiro1623 | July 25, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Yes @chiro, but we all know that Harris is a much better hitter against righties than Morse... oh wait...

@Sunderland -- well put. When Riggs said that, I thought, he's just flailing at this point. "We had no one else to bat eighth" ranks right up there with "I've been playing Mike mostly against lefties. Hopefully that will change a little bit for him and he'll get some more at-bats against righties." It's an almost comical abdication of managerial responsibility.

Posted by: Section222 | July 25, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

I like Willie--no hatred there. I am confident he will hit over .200 this season. He just is not a starter, especially as a corner OF and IF, where he has started a couple dozen times or more. The bench seems especially weak this year, and it shows up in key PH situations too (as when Nieves came up with a runner on 3rd and one out). Alberto Gonzalez is a nice sub and a fine middle infielder, but not a starting 1B either.

Posted by: EdDC | July 25, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't call Harris a has been, but I do think Morse should be playing third. He's played there more often than RF and he has a hot bat.

Desmond has been struggling mightily at the plate of late. He smoked the ball that Edmonds caught but before that had a series of pitiful looking strikeouts and a weak grounder to the pitcher. I imagine Riggleman is trying not to put pressure on him even though some say the second batter gets "better" pitches.

I think they'll get this one today.

Go Nats!

Posted by: longhorn64 | July 25, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

I still think Riggleman should double-switch Willie Harris for Guzman. Or platoon him. After all, Guz isn't hitting right handed pitchers well, lacks and sort of power, rarely walks (albeit more than last year) ... in general doesn't get on base. Rather see Gonzo at third.

Morse hasn't played the position since last year not sure how that would work.

Whatever, its no use complaining about Riggleman's tactics or lack thereof, as the team makes it way to 20 games under .500.

Posted by: periculum | July 25, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Harris has been a little hotter of late...I like the lineup if you're gonna rest Z.

Posted by: CJArlington | July 25, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

A voice of reason.

Please don't forget, everyone, that at each position, there are at least two players on the team who play that position better than Michael Morse.

Posted by: paulkp | July 25, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Off topic, it looks like Chico Harlan has a really interesting gig:

He is also reporting on all the North Korea shenanigans.

Posted by: paulkp | July 25, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Jeez, I take a day away from baseball, and what happens? - Balester & Detwiler get promoted, and JD Martin goes onto the 15-DL. Balester, really... My god, what were they thinking? Just because he has ML experience doesn't mean he's any good at that particular level.

Meanwhile, with RZim on the bench ('scheduled day off'), Harris has punked a play, as has Desmond, and Detwiler only goes 4IP, with no ER allowed, but 5 runs scored. Riggleman couldn't have delayed the day off for RZimm by a day to support Detwiler?

Posted by: BinM | July 25, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

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