Game #86

Nats (38-48) vs. San Francisco Giants (45-40)

One elite pitching staff leaves town and another takes its place. The Nats won't see Giants ace Tim Lincecum (9-4, 3.16 ERA) this weekend. But they will see Matt Cain (6-7, 2.98 ERA), Jonathan Sanchez (7-6, 3.15 ERA) and Madison Baumgarner (1-2, 2.86). That's not fun. Stephen Strasburg (2-2, 2.45 ERA) gets the first shot at San Francisco. But he'll have an unconventional lineup. Nats manager Jim Riggleman - with two left-handed starters set to go for the Giants this weekend - will get Willie Harris a rare start in left field. That sends Josh Willingham to the bench - though it does make the outfield better defensively. Ivan Rodriguez gets the day off at catcher. His back still isn't 100 percent and Riggleman is trying to avoid using him behind the plate more than three games in a row. That means Wil Nieves gets to catch Strasburg for the first time.

Ian Desmond also gets the day off with Cristian Guzman at short. Adam Kennedy starts at second base for the fifth time in six games. Riggleman finally said enough was enough - Kennedy needed to get some at-bats and is 5-for-14 this week with a triple and an RBI. All fair moves. But Strasburg probably shouldn't count on improved run support. The Nats gave him 1, 0 and 0 runs in games against the Chicago White Sox (6/18), Kansas City Royals (6/23) and Atlanta Braves (6/28). Washington did score 6 against the Mets last Saturday. But none came while Strasburg was in the game and it took a dramatic three-run rally in the ninth inning to win that one. We'll see if they can do better tonight against Cain. Here are the full lineups for both clubs.



Torres – CF

Sanchez – 2B

Huff – RF

Burrell – LF

Posey – C

Sandoval – 3B

Ishikawa – 1B

Renteria – SS

Cain – P



Morgan – CF

Bernadina – RF

Zimmerman – 3B

Dunn – 1B

Guzman – SS

Harris – LF

Kennedy – 2B

Nieves – C

Strasburg – P


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