Earlier this afternoon, I opined that it would be interesting to see how the Nationals' lineup fares tonight, because it might offer some clues about how the team can use the bottom of the order in NL-only games. So far, the players whose at-bats could get squeezed after interleague play is done have responded.
Roger Bernadina homered in the second inning, and Michael Morse punched a base hit to right later in the inning. Morse advanced no further, but Bernadina's homer combined with Adam Dunn's bomb in the first inning to give the Nationals a 2-0 lead over the Tigers and their ace, Justin Verlander.
Morse has six hits in his last 10 at-bats, and if Bernadina wasn't playing so well in right field, he might be pushing for more playing time. But right now, he gives the Nationals a solid option off the bench and a DH possibility for the remaining interleague games.
None of that, though, has helped the Nationals keep the lead. For the second time in as many nights, they've blown an early margin.
Livan Hernandez threw six pitches in the first inning, but walked in a run in the second and issued three walks in the inning. He's already put five runners on base, and looks like he's trying to avoid the Tigers' bats, rather than attacking Detroit's hitters. Against a pitcher like Verlander, you can't blow early leads.Now the Nationals will have to try to regain it.