Jul 28, 2015; Miami, FL, USA; Washington Nationals left fielder Jayson Werth (28) connects for a base hit during the eighth inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Williams Mixes Up Lineup With New Guys Back
While Michael Taylor had gone 6-for-14 in his last three games with a home run and four RBI’s, Nats manager Matt Williams decided to mix up the lineup a little bit. In just his second game back in the lineup, Anthony Rendon moved into the leadoff spot in the batting order. Jayson Werth was batting third ahead of Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman was back protecting Harper In the fifth spot.
Coming into last night’s game, Rendon had only hit out of the leadoff spot 12 times (.298 average, .346 on-base percentage). However, since Rendon does a good job of getting on-base, this is a decision that could help the club while Denard Span is out due to a back injury.
By having Rendon and Yunel Escobar hit in the top two spots in the order, it allows the Nats to have two players that are able to work the opposing starter’s pitch count up early in the game. While Fernandez only gave up one run last night, they were able to make the Marlins’ starter throw 99 pitches, which is the most he has thrown in any start this season.
Rendon was also able to keep the Nationals in the game in the top of the ninth inning when he drew a walk with the bases loaded against closer A.J. Ramos, but Yunel Escobar grounded into a double play to end the game. Plus, by moving Michael Taylor down to the number eight spot, it allows the pressure to come off Taylor a little bit.. He is only hitting .215 this month, but the 22-year-old was 1-for-3 last night with a walk.
As for the returning starters, Jayson Werth was 1-for-4 with a base hit and Ryan Zimmerman had two hits behind Harper, including a double in the second inning. It is only one game, but the impact was felt by this lineup that has been trying to get by with bench players the last couple of months.
While the Nats were only able to get a run last night, the lineup that Williams put out there should be one that the manager goes to on a daily basis. Just like F.P. Santangelo said on the MASN telecast, by having these players stay in regular spots, it will allow them to develop a rhythm and get the offense back on the right track.
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