After the Washington Nationals scored just one run on five hits in last night's 3-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates, with four of the hits and the one run off Bucs' right-handers, the Nats have a .233/.301/.372 line on the year vs RHPs, leaving them 11th in AVG, 10th in OBP and 9th in SLG in the National League.
In the second game of four in PNC Park tonight, the Nationals take on another right-hander Charlie Morton, the Bucs' 30-year-old starter, against whom right-handed hitters have a .264/.333/.373 line so far in 2014.
Left-handed hitters have a combined .240/.333/.280 line against Morton so far this season, but in his career, lefties have a .320/.403/.477 line against the veteran of seven major league seasons.
Nats' skipper Matt Williams put together a left-hand heavy lineup to go up against Morton tonight with Denard Span, Greg Dobbs (at first), Zach Walters (at third) and Nate McLouth (in left field) all going up against the Pirates' righty.
• Here are the Nationals and Pirates' lineups for tonight's 7:05 pm EDT game in PNC Park:
|WASHINGTON NATIONALS||PITTSBURGH PIRATES|
|Denard Span - CF||Josh Harrison - RF|
|Anthony Rendon - 2B||Neil Walker - 2B|
|Jayson Werth - RF||A. McCutchen - CF|
|Wilson Ramos - C||Ike Davis - 1B|
|Ian Desmond - SS||Russell Martin - C|
|Greg Dobbs - 1B||Pedro Alvarez - 3B|
|Zach Walters - 3B||Starling Marte - LF|
|Nate McLouth - LF||Clint Barmes - SS|
|J. Zimmermann - RHP||Charlie Morton - RHP|
The Nationals' bats weren't exactly cold last night in Pittsburgh, there were several well-struck balls that found their way to Pirates' defenders, with Josh Harrison in right and Andrew McCutchen in center making diving and sliding catches, respectively, in the outfield to take away potential extra base hits.
"They made some really nice plays and so that happens," Williams told reporters after another frustrating loss that left the Nationals just one game above .500 at 24-23 after 47 games. "It's big league baseball. They're paid to do that. It didn't happen for us tonight, but we'll come back and give it a go again tomorrow."
The Nationals have Jordan Zimmermann on the mound vs the Pirates tonight. Zimmermann's looking for his third win in the last five starts (2-0, 3.54 ERA). In spite of the fact that he's unbeaten over that stretch, with the Nats' 4-1 in those starts, he's been hit relatively hard with a .307/.331/.421 line against him over his last 28 IP.
Can Zimmermann and the Nats' left-hand heavy lineup keep the Nationals above .500?
• We talked about the Nationals' loss in PNC, Blake Treinen's second major league start and more on last night's edition of Nats Nightly. Listen in while you wait for tonight's game to get underway: