Five more call-ups coming tomorrow; Johnson explains tonight’s lineup decisions

PHILADELPHIA - Expect five more minor leaguers to get called up to join the Nationals tomorrow.

The Nats plan to promote left-handed pitcher Xavier Cedeno and four position players tomorrow, rounding out their September call-ups.

Cedeno and the bulk of the position players are already on the 40-man roster, so the Nats won’t need to do much maneuvering there. Even if that was necessary, they only currently have 38 players on the 40-man.

Outfielders Jeff Kobernus, Corey Brown and Eury Perez are options to get promoted, as are shortstop Zach Walters and first baseman Chris Marrero. Walters is the only one among the group that is not currently on the 40-man roster. But again, if Walters was to be promoted, the Nats have the space to add him to the 40-man without needing to make a corresponding roster move.

The Nationals are going with a little bit of an unusual lineup tonight against Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels.

Manager Davey Johnson has Bryce Harper leading off and Scott Hairston hitting second for the first time this year. He also is sitting the left-handed-hitting Denard Span, who has a 15-game hitting streak, but starting the left-handed-hitting Adam LaRoche, who is in an 0-for-15 slump.

Another guy out of the lineup tonight is Tyler Moore, the power-hitting righty who sees left-handed pitching well and is batting .452 in 31 at-bats since returning from Triple-A.

So what’s with all the changes to the normal lineup against lefties? Well, Johnson is playing the matchups.

Hairston is hitting .412 with five home runs and two walks in 34 career at-bats against Hamels. Harper, who of course was intentionally drilled by Hamels last season, is hitting .316 off the lefty. LaRoche also has a lot of success against Hamels, batting .323 with four homers in 31 at-bats off the Phillies’ southpaw.

Moore, meanwhile, is 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in a small sample size against Hamels.

“I really like the way Denard Span’s playing, but Hairston’s had pretty good success against Hamels, and so I felt like I have to put him in there,” Johnson said. “I want to keep his bat in there. He played yesterday. Played good, got a couple hits. And I want to leave Harper in there. He’s had a little history with Hamels and he needs to learn how to hit left-handers.

“Adam LaRoche is at first. I didn’t want him to feel like I didn’t like him (after sitting him yesterday). He’s swung the bat pretty good. Hamels is pretty even against right and left. There’s no real big advantage. ...

“As much as I want to get Tyler Moore some experience against left-handed pitching, we need to win this ballgame.”

So there you go.

Meanwhile, one side note for tonight’s game - with two innings of work tonight, Stephen Strasburg will set a career high for most innings in a season.

He’s currently at 158 innings for this year, and as you might remember, he had 159 1/3 innings in 2012 before the Nationals shut him down due to their innings limit.

You might have heard about it.

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