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Washington Nationals’ 4th of July lineup for 2nd of 3 with New York Mets in D.C.

Washington and New York start this one early with an 11:00 AM start time on the 4th of July in Washington, D.C.

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Daniel Murphy got a rest on Monday night, in the series opener with the New York Mets.

Nationals’ skipper Dusty Baker explained to reporters, before the first of three with the Washington’s NL East rivals, that the current stretch of 46 games over 48 days, which wraps up this Sunday in the series and first-half finale with the Atlanta Braves, has been brutal, and he’s trying to keep everyone, Murphy included, at their best.

“We have to keep Murphy healthy,” Baker said. “He will be back in there tomorrow.

“I just do [the lineups] with my eyes and my heart. Forty-six games in 48 days – that is a lot of baseball. I am just trying to keep guys strong.”

With just two days off since May 23th, Baker said, “this has been a trying time for my team.”

Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo said much the same in an interview on Buster Olney’s podcast on Monday.

“It’s been a grind,” Rizzo told the ESPN writer and analyst of the long stretch with minimal rest.

“We’ve had some injuries mixed in. We’re missing three of our starting eight players and three bullpen pieces, but I see a lot of our young players stepping up and filling in when [Jayson] Werth went down and [Adam] Eaton went down, we have [Brian] Goodwin and [Michael A.] Taylor that really stepped up and performed well for us and now that Trea Turner is down we’re going to have Stephen Drew and [Wilmer] Difo and that group of guys have to step up and play for us.

“The consistent and constant that we have is we put a guy on the mound every day that gives us a chance to win and a lineup that’s been swinging the bat pretty well, so we just have to keep rolling and keep grinding away, and it will be a real nice All-Star break for a lot of the club including Dusty and myself.”

There are, however, still games to play before the All-Star Break. Including today’s...