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Nationals' Thursday Lineup: Stephen Strasburg vs The Cubs In Series Finale

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The Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs play the fourth game of their four-game series this afternoon in Wrigley Field with Stephen Strasburg on the mound for the visiting Nats. Can the Nationals take three of four on the road in Chicago?

Rob Grabowski-US PRESSWIRE

Davey Johnson talked to reporters yesterday about his plans to platoon some of his players going forward as the Washington Nationals play out the remainder of the 2013 campaign with a postseason berth a longshot at this point. "'There is a necessity,'" Johnson explained, as quoted by the Washington Post's James Wagner, "'We’re not in the position I’d like to be in but there is a necessity to look at some guys. We’ll be doing that. I mentioned the other day that Tyler Moore would be getting some regular at-bats. I’ll be doing that with some other guys.'" With the Nats set to face Chicago Cubs' lefty Travis Wood in the finale of their four-game set in Wrigley Field, Johnson has Moore in his lineup with Adam LaRoche getting the day off:

Ian Desmond's getting the day off too after his back tightened up on him last night. Davey Johnson pulled him from the Nats' 11-6 win early, hoping it would give the shortstop enough time to rest and recover. "He wasn't his usual self. His back was really bothering him," the Nats' skipper explained. "He had to go in after, he couldn't even take ground balls and went in and there was a situation made-to-order I could get him out of there and hopefully he'll be able to play tomorrow, so we'll see."

According to reports from Wrigley Field, the back didn't improve overnight, so Desmond's out for the finale with Anthony Rendon playing short and Steve Lombardozzi at second:

One other thing: Is Davey Johnson worried about Stephen Strasburg after the right-hander's "wild pitches" to Andrelton Simmons, which ended his last start abrunptly with the pitcher ejected for throwing behind the Braves' infielder? Strasburg told his manager after both were ejected that there was no physical issue, but after last night's game, Johnson talked to reporters about his bullpen management in the third game of four and said he'd kept Craig Stammen's outing short because he thought he might need help today. "I hate to have to use Clipp and Soriano in that game," Johnson said, "but I had to stop Stammen short. I need somebody to give me some innings tomorrow if something happens."