The Nationals have played 158 games, and won 96 of them, to put themselves in the most-desired position a team can reach in the regular season: Win one game and clinch the division, with no outside help necessary.

Having reach this point, Manager Davey Johnson is not messing around. The Nationals will use their regular, rubber-stamp lineup, even including Kurt Suzuki. It is rare for a catcher to start a day game after a night, and even rarer when it makes for his ninth consecutive start. Johnson, though, wants his best team on the field, period.

“Very simple,” Johnson said. “He’s really been playing well. It’s not time to rest.”

In September, Suzuki has hit .312/.353/.506 with four homers. Last night, he nailed the game-winning, two-run double off the left-center field fence in the 10th inning. He has validated the August trade that brought him here and, for the time being, made Jesus Flores an observer.

Suzuki “has said on occasions before, ‘I want ‘em all,’ ” Johnson said. “The way he’s playing, he might get them all.”


1. Jayson Werth, RF

2. Bryce Harper, CF

3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B

4. Adam LaRoche, 1B

5. Michael Morse, LF

6. Ian Desmond, SS

7. Danny Espinosa, 2B

8. Kurt Suzuki, C

9. Ross Detwiler, SP


1. John Jay, CF

2. Carlos Beltran, RF

3. Matt Holliday, LF

4. Allen Craig, 1B

5. Yadier Molina, C

6. David Freese, 3B

7. Daniel Descalso, 2B

8. Pete Kozma, SS

9. Lance Lynn, SP