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Today's lineups

The Nationals will try to even the series against the Phillies, and they might have a good shot with Kyle Kendrick on the mound for the Phillies. Charlie Manuel aligned his pitching staff so Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt will start in this week's big series against the Braves, so the Nats get a crack at Kendrick and Joe Blanton tomorrow.

Here's how they'll look tonight:

Nationals
1. Danny Espinosa, 2B
2. Ian Desmond, SS
3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B
4. Adam Dunn, 1B
5. Roger Bernadina, LF
6. Michael Morse, RF
7. Wilson Ramos, C
8. Justin Maxwell, CF
9. Jordan Zimmermann, SP

Phillies
1. Shane Victorino, CF
2. Placido Polanco, 3B
3. Chase Utley, 2B
4. Ryan Howard, 1B
5. Jayson Werth, RF
6. Raul Ibanez, LF
7. Carlos Ruiz, C
8. Wilson Valdez, SS
9. Kyle Kendrick, SP

By Adam Kilgore  |  September 18, 2010; 3:30 PM ET
 
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Next: Jim Riggleman likely to remain Nationals manager in 2011

Comments

Except for the missing Josh W. seems this is the line-up many would like to see next year (assuming no roster changes). We'll see if they can score any runs tonight.

Posted by: marathoner | September 18, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

@marathoner:

If Willingham were manning LF, and with platoons of Bernadina-Morse platoon in RF, and Morgan-Maxwell in CF, this could be a good lineup. Splitting Bernadina [LF] and Morse [RF] with Maxwell in CF, not so good, imo.

Posted by: BinM | September 18, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

I hope JZimm has his breaking ball working tonight. Love to see him pitch 6 shutout innings.

Posted by: DavidandDonald | September 18, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

The Phillies have fronted their "A" lineup, less Rollins; The Nationals have responded with their best possible lineup, which is a "C+" at this point.

Advantage = Kendrick, imo.

Posted by: BinM | September 18, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

@Binm,

Bernadina is now pretty close to 100 strike outs without that many walks to offset. As is Desmond for that matter. Sure Zimmerman and Dunn especially will likely have more but their walks total raise the OBP.

Right now Bernadina, more than Morse, looks like a part-time player offensively. Next year assume the whole outfield gets thrown open especially if Dunn leaves and Willingham is moved to first base.

But top top-of-the-rotation starting pitching has to come first ... there is no other choice in the matter. The minor league cupboard is truly still bare, at least for another draft or two. Trades are going to hurt ... but I can't see any other way.

Posted by: periculum | September 18, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

At this point, 2011 looks like a stronger team, but not that much stronger. Ramos is certainly better than Nieves and probably better than Pudge. Espinoza is way better than Guzman or Kennedy. Desmond in year 2 should be better than this year. Pitching should be better just by being healthier. But all of this looks like it adds another 10 wins or so, to finish around .500. Wouldn't it be amazing if they could get Crawford and Lee? How much better would they be at that point? And maybe those guys would consider it if they could see Harper and Strasburg on the horizon. Of course that means expanding the team salary by $20-30m.

Posted by: DavidandDonald | September 18, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Let's hope this isn't the lineup for the future. If they sign Dunn they are set at the corners in the infield, behind the plate with Pudge and Ramos, and LF with Willingham. The middle infield is probably there but they will probably drive us nuts for another year or so. We need a lot less E's from the SS position, and both Desmond and Espinosa need to put more balls in play. Morgan, Bernadina, Morse, and Maxwell are neither young nor are probably full time ballplayers. Morse could be the exception, but the others have too many K's. We still probably need a minimum of a leadoff man/CFer type. Let's hope the starting pitching starts to fall into place. Strausburg is a top of the rotation guy. Hopefully Zimmermann is too, but for sure he should be in the rotation for years. But the rest of the rotation is a bunch of inconsistent junk ballers. We can afford a Livo but not 3 of them.

Posted by: Jurgensen9 | September 18, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

@peric:

High strikeouts could be a warning flag, unless they also walk frequently.
Bernadina & Morse are a good pairing for a platoon, imo - Neither player has a great OBP, but Bernadina offsets Morse's lack of range & arm strength in RF, while Morse offsets Bernadina's lack of power; lacking OBP, they may be best suited for a #6-7 slot in the lineup.

If Dunn isn't re-signed, I'd think that Morse would go to 1B well before Willingham as an internal solution (he's taller, younger, and has infield experience). But that leaves a HUGE hole (-100 Runs or more) in the middle of the lineup, and leaves Bernadina exposed in RF.

The SP situation could remain static (Livo, Lannan, Maya, JZinn, Marquis, etc.), or change via trade or FA. That remains to be seen in the off-season.

Finally, for someone who incessantly makes note of minor-league players, I'm stunned to see you state that "The minor league cupboard is truly still bare, at least for another draft or two."

Posted by: BinM | September 18, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

@Jurgensen9:

Fair observations overall, but if I may...

The projected middle infield might solidify in Spring Training (Espinosa-Desmond), or warp (Kennedy-Espinosa, with Desmond in CF). The predictive OF looks steady right now (Willingham-Morgan-Bernadina/Morse), but could change come April (Willingham-Desmond-Bernadina).

The parts are falling into place (sort of), and if Rizzo can keep the core together, DC might see a competetive team in the next two years.

Posted by: BinM | September 18, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

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