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Nationals' lineup vs the Mets + Nats' skipper Dusty Baker on lineup construction

Washington Nationals' skipper Dusty Baker talked to reporters on Monday about flipping Jayson Werth and Anthony Rendon, moving Daniel Murphy into the cleanup spot and more. Here's the Nationals' lineup for tonight's game...

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Nationals' skipper Dusty Baker made the decision to flip Jayson Werth and Anthony Rendon back before the three-game set with the New York Mets in Citi Field.

Werth is 8 for 24 (.333 AVG) with two doubles and a .429 OBP since Baker moved him to the two-spot (with one pinch hit appearance thrown in) and Rendon is 10 for 24 (.417 AVG) with three doubles, a triple and a .517 OBP.

Baker told reporters before tonight's series opener with the Mets in D.C., that the idea to flip the two came to him when he was trying to get to sleep.

"That's when a lot of my thoughts come to me for whatever reason," Baker explained, "and I can't describe it and I can't help it, but that's when that one came to me."

"I had a discussion with Werth and I had a discussion with Rendon and he said he really didn't care and there were people who said, 'Why don't you make [Werth] leadoff?' and I said, 'No.' And we came up with second."

Werth said yesterday he even suggested a move to eighth to Baker, but that the move to the two-spot had him feeling comfortable even if it's only a week-plus worth of at bats so far.

"I just said I just wasn’t really feeling in the flow of the offense when I was hitting sixth," Werth told reporters, including Washington Post writer Barry Svrluga, on Monday.

"For whatever reason, it just wasn’t working. I just wasn’t comfortable."

Baker was asked if he believed that lineup construction, and moving his batters around had an impact?

Baker said he did believe it made a difference, and he believed it, "... because I was there."

"And sometimes getting up four times is better than when you're in a slump and you're getting up five. Or sometimes you're in a position of seeing pitches, or sometimes who's behind you, or sometimes certain people concentrate better when men are on base or certain guys are better leading off innings, even though you only start off a few times like that, but it just so happens that the leadoff man ends up leading off more than once a game."

"Lineup construction is real big," Baker continued. "I remember in '93, my rookie year managing, I flipped Robby Thompson from sixth to second and we took off and so I believe big time in lineup construction.

"Sometimes you just try things.

"Like I said, most of my thoughts come to me when I should be asleep.

"Like in the middle of the night, and my wife used to get on me because I had a pen and a piece of paper by my bed and turn my light on and then she'd get upset and then I had to go to the flashlight."

Baker also talked about the decision to move Daniel Murphy from fifth to the cleanup spot when Ryan Zimmerman was struggling to make opposing teams pay for their willingness to walk Bryce Harper rather than let him beat them.

A reporter wondered about Baker's decision to go with Murphy in the four-hole since he didn't fit the mold of a typical power-hitting, home run threat.

"Well, the four-hole hitter is not called the home run hitter, what is he called?" Baker asked.

Reporter: "Cleanup."

Baker: "And what is he supposed to be cleaning up?"

Reporter: "Everyone on base."

"That's right, and that's what he does. It just so happens that a lot of times as a kid growing up, the cleanup hitter is a power hitter that's capable of driving in a bunch of runs in a few swings.

"Daniel Murphy is a cleanup hitter -- he wasn't my choice as the cleanup hitter from the beginning, he was my choice because of his performance and what other guys weren't doing with their performance. So, Daniel Murphy can hit -- in my mind, he can hit second, third, fifth, sixth, there's a whole bunch of places for a guy like Daniel Murphy to hit and there are sometimes I wish I could hit him in more than a couple spots."

• Here's the Nationals' lineup for the second game of three with the Mets in D.C.: