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Posted at 05:12 PM ET, 04/17/2011

Game 15 discussion thread: Nationals vs. Brewers


Jayson Werth will not start for the first time this season, leaving Rick Ankiel as the only Nationals player to start every game. Ankiel, expected to be a bench player at the start of spring training and a platoon starter at the start of the season, would not have been a likely choice as the last remaining National without a day off. But here he is. Laynce Nix is in right, and Michael Morse will bat third. The full lineups:

Nationals

1. Danny Espinosa, 2B

2. Rick Ankiel, CF

3. Michael Morse, LF

4. Adam LaRoche, 1B

5. Wilson Ramos, 1B

6. Laynce Nix, RF

7. Ian Desmond, SS

8. Jerry Hairston, 3B

9. Livan Hernandez, SP

Br ewers

1. Rickie Weeks, 2B

2. Carlos Gomez, CF

3. Ryan Bruan, LF

4. Prince Fielder, 1B

5. Casey McGehee, 3B

6. Yuniesky Betancourt, SS

7. George Kottaras, C

8. Erick Almonte, RF

9. Marco Estrada, SP

In their first game today, the Nationals raised their batting average from .209 to .217 and their slugging percentage from .306 to .329, which shows both what one good game in April can do and also what a season-long slump the Nats had been mired in. Still, they’ve played well enough to reach .500 and keep it afloat – “scratching out wins,” Manager Jim Riggleman said.

“We’re grinding it out right now,” Game 1 winner Jason Marquis said. “Guys are starting off as hot as we want to, but we’re at .500. Once this team starts rolling, we’re going to start playing some great baseball.”

Marquis threw seven innings, which may save the bullpen for Game 2 – only Chad Gaudin and Tyler Clippard threw in relief. Then, Hernandez is on the mound now.

“With Livan on the mound, he could throw 250 pitches,” Marquis said. “If there’s one guy you want pitching the back end of a doubleheader, it’s definitely him.”

Talk Game 2 of today’s doubleheader right here.

By  |  05:12 PM ET, 04/17/2011

 
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