The good thing about the Washington Nationals is that they have options when it comes to filling out the lineup.
Manager Matt Williams has said that in an ideal world, when Bryce Harper returns, Ryan Zimmerman will head back to third, Anthony Rendon will go to second, and Danny Espinosa will hit the bench. If the manager is saying it, that will most likely be what happens first.
Williams did say that “Danny has played really well at second base for us.” But it seems Rendon, with the hot bat, will take second and have to stay in the lineup. The Nationals cannot afford to slip offensively.
But let’s entertain an alternate defensive lineup.
Even though Zimmerman does not have the final say, nor do we know if he truly cares either way, he did come out and say, “I don’t know if the future really has me playing third.” He also referred to his move to left as “refreshing.” Zim has alluded to interest in playing first base, but in the National League, you cannot take Adam LaRoche away from first when he is on such an offensive tear.
Here’s the alternate option: Harper returns to left, LaRoche stays at first, Rendon stays at third, Zimmerman goes to second, and Espinosa hits the bench.
Then, assuming Denard Span sticks with the Nationals for the rest of the season, the team has all of its current top performers in the starting lineup.
The Nationals have one of the best pitching staffs in the majors in terms of ERA, but it never hurts to have guys in your batting order that will put up some serious runs. The team has to rely on their pitching to give the hitters a chance, but the offense should not expect to win every game with two or three runs scored.
The team has to do whatever it takes to field a lineup that will perform offensively. Again, luckily for the Nationals, they do have options.