The Washington Post

Davey Johnson goes back to Denard Span at leadoff


Toni L. Sandys/TWP

Manager Davey Johnson kept the Nationals lineup the same as last night, including all three lefty regulars and Denard Span in the leadoff spot against lefty Cliff Lee. “We scored nine runs, man,” Johnson said. “I’m staying right there.”

Johnson actually had a reason for sticking with his lefties against Lee. His most dominant pitch is his cutter, which saws off right-handed batters.  Left-handed hitters are batting .263 against Lee compared to a .253 average for right-handed hitters off Lee.

After tinkering for the past month, Johnson hopes to stick with a lineup topped by Span for the foreseeable future. He may swap Adam LaRoche and Ian Desmond in the fifth and sixth spots depending on whether the Nationals face a righty or lefty starter. But Johnson wants to go back to a regular eight.

“It’s been a weird year,” Johnson said. “Before yesterday’s game, I said, ‘I’m going to go back to where I know they need to hit, where they should hit, where they should be successful.’ So that’s how that lineup came up yesterday. I like having a set lineup.”

Span has said he prefers leading off to any other spot in the lineup. He entered yesterday’s game 0 for his last 17, but knocked an RBI single in the fifth.

Nationals

1. Denard Span, CF

2. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B

3. Bryce Harper, LF

4. Jayson Werth, RF

5. Ian Desmond, SS

6. Adam LaRoche, 1B

7. Wilson Ramos, C

8. Anthony Rendon, 2B

9. Taylor Jordan, SP

Phillies

1. Jimmy Rollins, SS

2. Michael Young, 3B

3. Chase Utley, 2B

4. Domonic Brown, LF

5. Darin Ruf, RF

6. Cody Asche, 3B

7. Carlos Ruiz, C

8. Michael Martinez, CF

9. Cliff Lee, SP

Adam Kilgore covers national sports for the Washington Post. Previously he served as the Post's Washington Nationals beat writer from 2010 to 2014.
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