In a three-game skid and following a listless performance in their 11-2 loss to the Marlins in the opener, manager Davey Johnson shook up the lineup for game two.
Johnson benched starters Jayson Werth, Ian Desmond, Wilson Ramos and Roger Bernadina. He inserted Jerry Hairston Jr., Alex Cora, Jesus Flores and Rick Ankiel into the starting nine, shifting Laynce Nix to right field.
Johnson will have Hairston leading off, followed by Cora, Ryan Zimmerman, Michael Morse, Nix, Danny Espinosa, Ankiel, Flores and the pitcher’s spot. He said he feels everyone on the roster can contribute and he believes this lineup gives him the best chance to win tonight.
“I am a firm believer in you win with 25 guys,” Johnson said. “I have pretty much had a set lineup up to this date and I haven’t rested too many guys. I really like to use my whole bench. Today is the day, after we looked a little flat out there yesterday, I was going to run my bench out there.”
Johnson felt it was time to give a few guys some rest and even recommended to a few of players to not come in during Monday’s off day after the long road trip.
“I think a lot of guys could use the day off,” Johnson said. “One thing about this club is the makeup of these guys is outstanding. The work ethic is almost (to the point where) they over work. Half the club is here two or three hours before (they need to report) to do extra work.
“I think that can sometimes work against you where you might not be as fresh as you want to be. But some of aren’t satisfied with their batting averages so they come early to work on it. I have confidence with everyone on the ball club and I am going to give them a breather.”
The newest Nationals’ player, Jonny Gomes, could pinch hit tonight, according to Johnson, who said the former Reds outfielder will start tomorrow in the series finale.