Trying to avoid sweep in Miami, Johnson juggles lineup

If you're one of those people who gives a cursory glance to a game's lineup, here's a warning: Get ready to blink, rub your eyes and react with general surprise when you see the batting order Nationals manager Davey Johnson has penned for today's first-half finale in Miami.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and Johnson - a manager who really likes the sameness of a regular lineup - has juggled things substantially in hopes of avoiding a three-game sweep by the Marlins.

A night after being ejected for arguing balls and strike, left fielder Bryce Harper will hit leadoff for the first time in his career. He's hit second (five times) and third (51 times) this season, but the No. 1 spot is a new ballgame for the All-Star Game-bound slugger.

Harper's ascension to leadoff has pushed center fielder Denard Span out of the No. 1 spot for the first time this season. Span, who has batted first in the previous 86 games he's started, gets bounced into the seven-hole for the first time as a major league starter. It's the lowest he's batted as a major league starter since hitting ninth for the Twins on July 21 during his rookie campaign in 2008.

For the Nationals

LF Bryce Harper
2B Anthony Rendon
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
RF Jayson Werth
SS Ian Desmond
CF Denard Span
C Wilson Ramos
RHP Taylor Jordan

For the Marlins

LF Juan Pierre
3B Placido Polanco
RF Giancarlo Stanton
CF Marcell Ozuna
2B Derek Dietrich
SS Adeiny Hechavarria
1B Greg Dobbs
C Jeff Mathis
RHP Henderson Alvarez

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