(Evan Vucci / AP)

Denard Span will return to the Nationals’ lineup this afternoon. He felt much better than yesterday when he arrived at the park, and he told coaches, “I’m good to go.”

In what may be a more significant development, catcher Wilson Ramos will start for the second consecutive game for the first time this season. Manager Davey Johnson has said he plans on moving away from his every-other-day rotation with Ramos and Kurt Suzuki and playing the “hot hand.” Yesterday, Ramos smoked a game-tying, two-run single.

It seems surprising that Johnson would choose today to start Ramos back-to-back for the first time this year. Johnson has at times tried to pair today’s starting pitcher, Gio Gonzalez, with Suzuki, his catcher from their time together in Oakland. For the year, Gonzalez has a 6.00 ERA when throwing to Ramos and a 5.09 ERA when Suzuki catches him, so there hasn’t been much a difference there. Either way, Ramos catching consecutive games speaks to Johnson’s confidence in Ramos’s surgically repaired knee and his left hamstring.

You could unpack yesterday’s game for hours, but one factoid best represents how unique the Nationals’ victory was. In 1,007 career games, Ryan Zimmerman has one steal of third base, 17 triples and 18 hit-by-pitches. He did all three yesterday.


1. Denard Span, CF

2. Ian Desmond, SS

3. Bryce Harper, LF

4. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B

5. Adam LaRoche, 1B

6. Tyler Moore, LF

7. Danny Espinosa, 2B

8. Wilson Ramos, C

9. Gio Gonzalez, SP

The Pirates’ lineup is notable for Russell Martin, usually a catcher, playing third. On 5/5, No. 55 is hitting fifth and playing the 5 position.


1. Starling Marte, LF

2. Jordy Mercer, 2B

3. Andrew McCutchen, CF

4. Gaby Sanchez, 1B

5. Russell Martin, 3B

6. Michael McKenry, C

7. Brandon Inge, RF

8. John McDonald, SS

9. Wandy Rodriguez, SP