Nationals' 4th of July lineup: Bryce Harper batting second vs Cubs in Nats Park

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Nationals' manager Matt Williams was tempted to leave things as they were over the last few games since the Nats' offense was producing, but he decided to switch things up a little bit at the top, batting Bryce Harper second today vs the Cubs.

In spite of the fact that the Washington Nationals have won five straight games, Nats' skipper Matt Williams decided to mix things up a little bit this morning for the fifth game with the Chicago Cubs in the last nine days.

Bryce Harper is hitting second for the first time since returning from the DL and Anthony Rendon's shifted from second to sixth.

"Bryce at the top of the lineup against a right-handed pitcher, he can create some stuff. And Hammel has really good numbers against the Nationals..." -Matt Williams on hitting Bryce Harper 2nd vs Cubs today

The Nationals are facing Cubs' right-hander Jason Hammel, who improved to (7-0) vs Washington in his career with a win last week in Wrigley Field.

"I think it's a question of trying to create a little bit with Bryce at the top of the lineup," Williams said.

"Especially against a righty. We faced lefties the last three games, so I wanted to give him some opportunities certainly to drive runs in and the same holds true for Anthony today in that regard. So, Bryce at the top of the lineup against a right-handed pitcher, he can create some stuff. And Hammel has really good numbers against the Nationals and the league as a whole, but we wanted to see if we could create some opportunities for the guys in the middle today. So that's the reason."

Did he think about just leaving things as they were considering how the Nationals' offense has produced in the last three games?

"Well, I think every game presents its own challenges and it's new and it doesn't matter what's happened the last three good bad or indifferent," Williams said. "I like the fact that we can get some guys on base, on-base percentage guys two, three, four, five. Create opportunities potentially for Anthony for [Ian Desmond], for Wilson [Ramos]. Certainly Denard [Span] has been great, but our highest on-base guys are those guys, so these guys have really good starting pitching so we're just trying to create an opportunity there."

• Here are the lineups for the Nationals and Cubs' Fourth of July matchup:

Today's Lineups

CHICAGO CUBS WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Chris Coghlan - LF Denard Span - CF
Justin Ruggiano - CF Bryce Harper - LF
Anthony Rizzo - 1B Jayson Werth - RF
Starlin Castro - SS Adam LaRoche - 1B
Luis Valbuena - 3B Ryan Zimmerman - 3B
N. Schierholtz - RF Anthony Rendon - 2B
John Baker - C Ian Desmond - SS
Darwin Barney - 2B Wilson Ramos - C
Jason Hammel - RHP Tanner Roark - RHP
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