Ian Desmond's sore hamstring kept him out of the Nationals' three-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies this past weekend. Michael Morse didn't last long in the three-game set in Citizens Bank either, taking a HBP on the hand that knocked him out for all but one at bat in the Nats' three consecutive losses. The Nationals have dropped four straight overall, and they look to stop that streak tonight in the first game of two in Miami's Marlins Park. The Nationals just announced the starting lineup for tonight's game and both Desmond (.282/.318/.504, 25 2B, 19 HR) and Morse (.286/.316/.459, 15 2B, 12 HR) are back in the lineup:
Davey's Lineup-Tue. @ MIA/G128: Werth rf, Harper cf, Zimmerman 3b, LaRoche 1b, Morse lf, Desmond ss, Espinosa 2b, Suzuki c, Strasburg rhp.— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) August 28, 2012
Bryce Harper's back in there too. Though he's struggled to hit lefties, the 19-year-old outfielder still has a .268/.344/.440 line against right-handers. Adam LaRoche has a .326/.356/.395 line against Marlins' starter Ricky Nolasco over 45 career PA's against Miami's game one pitcher, which might get the Nats' 1B started up again. In 25 games and 108 PA in August, LaRoche has posted a .245/.306/.418 line with five doubles and four home runs, but that's after a .304/.353/.478 July during which he hit four doubles and four home runs in 25G/102PAs.
The Nats look to break the four-game losing streak tonight in Marlins Park. As Johnson told reporters after the loss in the finale with the Phillies, no one on the Nats has let up at all, it's just been a rough stretch in which they've missed both Morse and Desmond. "These guys [aren't] easing off the gas pedal. They're grinding. You're never as bad as you look when you lose and you're never as good as you look when you win. Just remember that. These guys don't need a pep talk, they don't need anything. A couple guys need to get healthy and we'll be fine." The Marlins are coming off an 11-game road trip that ended with them dropping four of five to finish 5-6. The Nats need a win, and they've got Desi and Morse back with Strasburg on the mound against the Fish.