A few quick notes before tonight's game:
Harper: Davey Johnson wanted Bryce Harper in the lineup against San Francisco Giants' lefty Madison Bumgarner, but the Washington Nationals' 20-year-old outfielder is apparently suffering from flu-like symptoms, so he's sitting tonight for the first game of the three-game series with the defending World Series Champs. Johnson told reporters that Harper, 3 for 9 vs Bumgarner with a home run, is one of the left-handers in his lineup that has actually hit Bumgarner well, so he'd prefer to have him in, but instead it's Scott Hairston starting in left field tonight as the defending NL East Champs look to keep the momentum they built up in three straight wins over the Philadelphia Phillies this weekend going tonight in the nation's capital.
Gio vs MadBum: On the mound tonight in Nationals Park, it's the two "winningest" lefties in the majors over the last two seasons with Gio Gonzalez pitching for the Nats against Bumgarner. Gonzalez, who won 21 games last season, has 28 in 2012-13 to the Giants' 24-year-old '07 1st Round pick's 27 wins. Gonzalez makes his 24th start of the year at home in D.C. and as the Nationals' pregame notes point out, he's, "... allowed 3 runs or less in 11 of 12 starts," this season including five starts in which he's allowed, "one run or less."
#WerthIt: Jayson Werth is back in the lineup tonight, in spite of bruising his knee on a play at the plate in this past Sunday's game against the Phillies. Werth is 9 for 18 six games into the Nats' nine-game homestand with a .328/.401/.530 line on the year after going 7 for 12 this weekend against his former team. As the Nationals note, since returning from his broken wrist last August, the 34-year-old outfielder is 162 for 504 (.321 AVG, .398 OBP) with with 26 doubles, 2 triples, 19 home runs, 68 RBIs, 88 R and 64 walks in 140 games and he's also got the best AVG in baseball since July 1st of this season, as he's gone (49 for 118) with a .415/.497/.669 line, three doubles, nine home runs, 20 walks and 18 Ks in his last 36 games.
Game time 7:05 pm EDT in D.C.