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Nationals Vs. Pirates, 8 May 2012

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At 7:05 at PNC Park the National League East-leading Washington Nationals come to town as the Pirates open a nine-game homestand. 19-year old phenom Bryce Harper will be batting second tonight and playing right field. Ryan Zimmerman returns from the 15-day DL and will be starting at third base. Stephen Strasburg, the most dynamic young arm in the game?, will make the start on Thursday. Ex-Bucs Adam LaRoche, Xavier Nady and Sean Burnett will also be in attendance wearing Nats red. One player who won't be there is Jayson Werth who was placed on the DL yesterday with a fractured left wrist.

The Pirates never fell below five games under .500 last year until their horrid end-of-the-season stretch that started during the end of July. They will need to win tonight to keep from reaching that mark. Here is the lineup the Bucs will trot out against Edwin Jackson, a player the Pirates unsuccessfully wooed in the off-season before eventually turning their attention to tonight's starter. Alex Presley gets another night off:

Jose Tabata 7
Neil Walker 4
Andrew McCutchen 8
Pedro Alvarez 5
Casey McGehee 3
Garrett Jones 9
Clint Barmes 6
Rod Barajas 2
A.J. Burnett 1

And the Nats counter with:

Ian Desmond 6
Bryce Harper 9
Ryan Zimmerman 5
Adam LaRoche 3
Danny Espinosa
Rick Ankiel 8
Wilson Ramos 2
Roger Bernadina 7
Edwin Jackson 1