Game 80 lineups: Nats vs. Reds

After a highly publicized, highly significant series against the division rival Mets that resulted in a sweep, the Nationals now find themselves hosting one of baseball’s worst teams this season for the next four nights: the Cincinnati Reds.

That, of course, doesn’t guarantee anything. The Nats lost two of three at Great American Ball Park last month, and nearly lost the third game before eking out a 10-9 victory. But they’ll need to find the same intensity they brought to the Mets series and try to sustain in this weekend against an opponent that doesn’t strike as much fear in your hearts.

Dusty Baker has decided to give Bryce Harper and Ben Revere the night off against left-hander Brandon Finnegan. Neither is a huge surprise; Harper hasn’t had a day off in a while, and Baker has been trying to use Michael A. Taylor against lefties.

Michael A. Taylor white close.jpg

Gio Gonzalez makes what could be an important start tonight, given the current unsettled nature of the Nationals rotation. The club has announced that Tanner Roark will start Friday night, with Joe Ross on Saturday night, but is leaving Sunday’s starter as “TBA” for now. Stephen Strasburg will be eligible to return from the DL, and of course Lucas Giolito remains here as well. If Gonzalez wants to make sure nobody even considers bumping him out of his spot, he would be wise to pitch well tonight...

CINCINNATI REDS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, XM 183, MLB.com
Weather: Partly cloudy, 80 degrees, wind 5 mph right field to left field

NATIONALS (47-32)
CF Michael A. Taylor
LF Jayson Werth
2B Daniel Murphy
C Wilson Ramos
3B Anthony Rendon
1B Ryan Zimmerman
RF Chris Heisey
SS Danny Espinosa
LHP Gio Gonzalez

REDS (29-50)
SS Zack Cozart
1B Joey Votto
2B Brandon Phillips
RF Jay Bruce
LF Adam Duvall
3B Eugenio Suarez
CF Billy Hamilton
C Tucker Barnhart
LHP Brandon Finnegan

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