Game 109: Nationals vs. Astros

Adam Berry here, pinch-hitting for Bill Ladson at Minute Maid Park and throughout this 10-game road trip.

The Nationals claimed switch-hitting infielder Cesar Izturis off waivers Monday afternoon, put Mark DeRosa on the 15-day disabled list and designated left-handed pitcher Atahualpa Severino for assignment. Izturis is not expected to join the team until Tuesday, however, so the Nats will be playing with 24 men tonight.

It’d be generous to say the rebuilding Astros have struggled to win games lately. They’ve lost 20 of 23 since the All-Star break, and they’re 4-30 since June 28. But Nats manager Davey Johnson once again cautioned against taking an opponent lightly based on their record, especially while Washington is trying to build on its National League East lead over Atlanta.

“We’re in a pennant race. They know it,” Johnson said. “Automatically your concentration levels for everything come up. For a lot of them, especially the young guys, it’s a new experience. They’re always up. This time of year … I don’t need to give any motivational speeches or anything like that.”

Here are tonight’s lineups:

Nationals (65-43)
Danny Espinosa, SS
Bryce Harper, CF
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B
Michael Morse, LF
Adam LaRoche, 1B
Jayson Werth, RF
Kurt Suzuki, C
Steve Lombardozzi, 2B
Edwin Jackson, RHP

Astros (36-73)
Jose Altuve, 2B
Marwin Gonzalez, SS
Brett Wallace, 1B
Justin Maxwell, RF
Scott Moore, 3B
J.D. Martinez, LF
Jordan Schafer, CF
Carlos Corporan, C
Dallas Keuchel, LHP

-Adam Berry

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