The last we heard from Washington Nationals' manager Davey Johnson, he was glad to have the Nats' 10-game trip through Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco over with and he was please that his team managed to salvage the series finale with the Giants to end up 4-6 on the West Coast swing. "This was a good road trip to get through," Johnson told reporters, "glad to be going home and coming home with a win, a tough one." The offense was still not providing much support for what has been increasingly competent pitching from the Nationals' rotation though.
"I don't like it," Johnson said of the sputtering offensive production, "but again, our offense has just been down and we've got a whole bunch of guys that need to start stepping it up and I think we'll do that when we go home."
There's no Danny Espinosa in the lineup for the first game of three the Nationals will play with the Philadelphia Phillies this weekend in Nationals Park. After a 2 for 30, 14 strikeout road trip, the 26-year-old infielder has a .163/.196/.291 line on the year with a .158/.273/.211 career line against Philly right-hander Kyle Kendrick, tonight's start for the visitors, and a .129/.200/.323 line against RHPs so far in 2013. All of which earns him a spot on the bench, though as yet with no explanation from the Nats' skipper, who's scheduled to meet with reporters in the next few minutes in advance of this evening's series opener.
• Here's the lineup that will take the field behind Jordan Zimmermann tonight in the nation's capital:
#Nationals lineup vs. PHI: Span 8, Harper 9,Zimmerman 5, LaRoche 3, Desmond 6, Suzuki 2, Moore 7, Lombardozzi 4, Zimmermann 1— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) May 24, 2013
Suzuki batting sixth? The Nats' catcher was 7 for 28 in seven starts out of the ten games out in California, and he now sports a .245/.322/.373 line on the year. Tyler Moore (.121/.157/.227) and Steve Lombardozzi (.220/.245/.286) are on the list along with Espinosa of Nationals player who need to get it going after each supplied more in 2012 than most people probably expected out of young players in tough part-time roles. The injury issues recently have given each more at bats than they had in the first couple weeks and Davey Johnson needs increased production from both of the young Nats. Jordan Zimmermann's on the mound vs the Phiilies. 7:05 pm EST. The Nats are back in D.C.