Bryce Harper was supposed to start in center and lead off for the Washington Nationals the last time they faced a left-handed starter, this past Saturday, but the bruise to his left tricep caused by Atlanta Braves' left-hander Luis Avilan's HBP in the previous game on Friday night kept him out of the lineup. Denard Span played center and led off instead. Tonight in Wrigley Field in Chicago, the Nats are scheduled to face another lefty, Chris Rusin, and Harper's back up top and playing center with Scott Hairston in left field tonight and Jayson Werth in right:
Davey's Lineup, Tue. @ CHI/G125: Harper cf, Desmond ss, Zimmerman 3b, Werth rf, Ramos c, Moore 1b, Rendon 2b, Hairston lf, Haren rhp.— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) August 20, 2013
Harper's numbers against left-handed pitches this season, .174/.294/.283 four doubles and two home runs in 110 plate appearances, aren't much of an improvement over Span's, .173/.222/.205, four doubles in 137 PAs, but he gets the start tonight with Span sitting.
Nats' skipper Davey Johnson is giving Adam LaRoche a night off too, with Tyler Moore in at first for the second game of the Nationals' four-game series in Chicago. LaRoche has a .188/.240/.313 line against left-handers this season.
LaRoche is having a much better August (.255/.349/.509, 2 2B, 4 HR) after a brutal July (.159/.227/.284, 3 2B, 2 HR), but Moore, who put up a .318/.395/.584 line at Triple-A Syracuse this season, had a .366/.451/.707 line against left-handers with the Chiefs.
Last season with the Nationals, the then-25-year-old right-handed slugger, who turned 26 this past January, had a .247/.307/.473 line against lefties.
Dan Haren's on the mound tonight for the Nationals, looking to continue a streak of strong outings going back to his return from the DL on July 8th after earning a save in the 11th relief appearance of his 11-year career this past Saturday night in the Nats' 15-inning win over Atlanta.
Since returning from the disabled list, the 32-year-old right-hander has a 2.25 ERA over 44 IP, holding opposing hitters to a .192/.250/.282 line and allowing just three home runs over that stretch (0.61 HR/9) after allowing 2.09 HR/9 (19 HR in 82 IP) in his first 15 starts of 2013.
Game time 8:05 pm EDT tonight in Wrigley Field...
More from Federal Baseball:
- Nationals' Starter Jordan Zimmermann's Rough Night In Wrigley
- The Chicago Cubs' Chris Rusin. Who? Chris Rusin!
- Nationals Reportedly Place David DeJesus On Waivers After Acquiring Him From Cubs
- Game 124 WPA: Ray Knight (-100%). Nats 1, Cubs 11
- Cubs Knock Jordan Zimmermann Around, Beat Nationals 11-1 In Wrigley Field