After moving Bryce Harper up to the two-hole on Friday morning in the first game of the Washington Nationals' three-game set with the Chicago Cubs, Nats' skipper Matt Williams moved the 21-year-old outfielder back to the sixth spot in the order for today's game.
Anthony Rendon, who switched places with Harper yesterday, does again today. Williams talked about the decision before the start of the 4:05PM matchup with the Cubs today.
"Bryce is a little tick off," the Nationals' manager said. "So, we certainly want to get him going, but he needs at bats. Yesterday I thought we'd get him an opportunity to potentially get some good fastballs to hit if Denard [Span] got on. That guy we were facing, [Jason Hammel], we don't hit very well, potentially set up the middle of the order guys. But, he's a little jumpy still, so we're just continuing to work on it and we'll get him back down to six today and let him go."
Asked if there was a consistent issue when Harper is "a tick off" at the plate that is affecting his timing, Williams said, "No."
"It's just lack of at bats," he explained. "You take that time off, it's difficult. So, he'll be fine. He'll get it and it will come quickly. Yesterday he was a little jumpy. I can understand with [Hammel], because he's got really good stuff. He's just trying to generate a little bit and that makes you move toward the pitcher which takes your eye -- you don't see the ball as well as you normally do. He'll be fine."
"He'll get it," Williams continued. "And it'll be fast too. Once he starts seeing it, once he feels it and gets his rhythm and timing a little bit better."
• Here are today's lineups for the Nats and Cubs:
|CHICAGO CUBS||WASHINGTON NATIONALS|
|Junior Lake - CF||Denard Span - CF|
|Justin Ruggiano - RF||Anthony Rendon - 2B|
|Anthony Rizzo - 1B||Jayson Werth - RF|
|Starlin Castro - SS||Adam LaRoche - 1B|
|W. Castillo - C||Ryan Zimmerman - 3B|
|Mike Olt - 3B||Bryce Harper - LF|
|Chris Coghlan - LF||Ian Desmond - SS|
|Darwin Barney - 2B||Wilson Ramos - C|
|C. Villanueva - RHP||Gio Gonzalez - LHP|