Tyler Moore (Jonathan Newton/WP) Tyler Moore (Jonathan Newton/WP)

Even though left-handed batter Adam LaRoche is hitting .294 (10 for 34) with four homers in his career against Phillies left-handed starter Cole Hamels, Nationals Manager Davey Johnson sat him in favor of right-handed batter Tyler Moore.

LaRoche has struggled against left-handers this season; he is 2 for 9 against Hamels this season and is hitting .189 against southpaws this season. But the main reason is because Johnson is challenging Moore to improve against left-handers.

During his strong rookie season, Moore hit .263 with a .840 OPS and 10 home runs in 156 at-bats. Oddly enough, he hit right-handed pitchers better (.286) compared to left-handers (.247). The same has been true this season in the majors; Moore is hitting .226 against right-handers but .185 against left-handers. At Class AAA Syracuse, Moore was better against left-handers, hitting .366 against them versus a .303 average against right-handers.

“A lot of that is just not having seen a lot of left-handed pitching,” Johnson said. “The ball breaking into you, you gotta turn and pull it. That’s a very difficult pitch to hit the other way. Right-hander: everything breaking the other way, it’s easy to go that way. You have to make those adjustments. He’s certainly smart. And since he was born on my birthday, I think he’ll figure it out.”

Since he re-joined the Nationals following a demotion to Syracuse, Moore has been a better overall hitter. He is hitting .388 (19 for 49) with one home run over 16 games, only 11 of them starts. During this recent stint, he is 0 for 5 as a pinch-hitter, his current role on the team.

“He’s gotten a little more aggressive,” Johnson said. “He still doesn’t quite grasp the pinch-hitting role. He’s got that everyday player mentality: go up there and take a pitch. But, you gotta go up there swinging. And he still has a little bit of tendency, because he’s such a good offspeed hitter and can hit the ball the other way, sometimes he gets off the fastball more than he should. It’s all about learning to make adjustments.”

Hot-hitting Denard Span is starting against Hamels despite Scott Hairston’s strong career numbers against Hamels (14 for 37) because Span has improved so much at the plate recently. Ian Desmond is hitting cleanup against Hamels, instead of Bryce Harper, who is hitting fifth.


1. Denard Span, CF

2. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B

3. Jayson Werth, RF

4. Ian Desmond, SS

5. Bryce Harper, LF

6. Wilson Ramos, C

7. Tyler Moore, 1B

8. Anthony Rendon, 2B

9. Gio Gonzalez, SP



1. Cesar Hernandez, CF

2. Jimmy Rollins, SS

3. Chase Utley, 2B

4. Carlos Ruiz, C

5. Darin Ruf, 1B

6. Cody Asche, 3B

7. Freddy Galvis, LF

8. John Mayberry, RF

9. Cole Hamels, SP