Davey Johnson has been searching for a serviceable No. 2 hitter ever since Jayson Werth needed to be moved out of that spot and then landed on the disabled list.
Instead of continuing to rotate guys with paltry on-base percentages and minimal power production into the two-hole, Johnson has decided to just bump everyone up a spot.
Bryce Harper will hit second tonight, marking the first time that Harper’s name has been written into the No. 2 spot all season.
Harper hit second in 117 of his 139 games played last season, but with the exception of one pinch-hitting performance when he was slotted into the No. 9 spot, Harper has batted third in every game he’s played this year.
Espinosa returns to the lineup after getting yesterday off. The Nats’ second baseman is in a 1-for-28 slump, with no walks and 13 strikeouts in his last seven games.
Roger Bernadina will play left and Kurt Suzuki is back in the lineup to catch Stephen Strasburg tonight.
Strasburg is looking to build off his last outing, in which he held the Padres to two runs (one earned) over a career-high eight innings. It was Strasburg’s first victory since opening day.
He enters tonight’s game with a 2-5 record and 2.83 ERA.
Strasburg will oppose Matt Cain, who, like many of the Giants’ starters, has gotten off to a rough start to 2013. Cain has a 5.43 ERA on the year, and he surrendered six runs on eight hits his last time out.
The right-hander did pick up a win in that game, however, and is 3-2 on the season.
For the Nats
CF Denard Span
RF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
LF Roger Bernadina
C Kurt Suzuki
RHP Stephen Strasburg
For the Giants
CF Angel Pagan
2B Marco Scutaro
3B Pablo Sandoval
C Buster Posey
RF Hunter Pence
1B Brandon Belt
LF Gregor Blanco
SS Brandon Crawford
RHP Matt Cain