7/14/2013 9:15 P.M. ET
Stanton continues to be a thorn for Nationals
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
MIAMI -- The Nationals are having a tough time trying to stop Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton at the plate. Since he entered the league four years ago, Stanton is hitting .329 with 16 home runs and 35 RBIs against Washington entering Sunday. Clearly those numbers are his best against any team in the league.
Stanton helped the Marlins tie the game on Saturday night, when he swung at a 1-2 pitch from closer Rafael Soriano and hit a mammoth home run over the left-field wall.
"The guy has a presence about him in the batter's box," Nationals right-hander Dan Haren said. "There are a few guys who are like that in baseball. He is really intimidating, he is a big strong guy. He can hit it out of any ballpark . He makes Marlins Park look small. With him, you really have to nibble at the corners. He has a really good eye, too. He takes his walks. He is a really tough out."
Shortstop Ian Desmond didn't have an answer for how to stop Stanton.
"He kills everybody. The guy is a master," said Desmond. "How do you stop him? There are a lot of teams out there asking the same question. He is a great ballplayer."
Span dropped to seventh spot in Nats' order
MIAMI -- After the Nationals lost to the Marlins, 2-1, on Saturday night, manager Davey Johnson vowed he would make changes to his lineup for Sunday's game. He did just that, making outfielder Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon his top two hitters, while dropping outfielder Denard Span from the leadoff spot to the seventh spot in the lineup.
Johnson clearly wants better on-base percentage guys to set the table for run producers such as Ryan Zimmerman, Adam LaRoche and Jayson Werth.
Span, who has been the leadoff hitter for most of the year, has struggled -- hitting .255 with a .313 on-base percentage entering Sunday's action.
"I haven't been getting the job done. Nothing is going to change for me, as far as my approach or anything like that," Span said. "I think I have walked a little bit more lately. I'm not too comfortable at the plate. Whenever you don't feel comfortable at the plate, you are going to swing at pitches that you don't normally swing at. I've been [more] aggressive than I normally would, because I'm trying to make something happen. Just all and all, I haven't felt the way I need to feel pretty much all season."
Span went 3-for-5 with a pair of RBI doubles and keyed the the Nationals' 10th-inning rally in Sunday's 5-2 win over the Marlins.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time He can also be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.