Harper Versus Lawrie, Round 1 - Nationals @ Blue Jays - June 10th 2012 - GameThread

June 10, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie (13) throws to first for an out in the sixth inning of the game against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE
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The former Montreal Expos, now known as the "Washington Nationals" are in town tonight, bringing them with a young phenom known as Bryce Harper.

Harper, 19, was selected by the Nationals first overall in the 2010 amateur draft, and spent 2011 in class A Hagerstown and class AA Harrisburg. He started 2012 with class AAA Syracuse but was promoted to the big leagues after only 20 games when Ryan Zimmerman went down due to injury. It appears, so far, that the rush up to the Majors did not faze Harper, as he is currently batting .282/.368/.521 with 8 doubles, 4 triples, and 6 homers in 163 plate appearances. I would think that he is certainly the early favourite to win the National League Rookie of the Year award. He will be sharing the diamond tonight with Brett Lawrie--Bruce Power can shut down for the next three days since these two guys have enough energy to power the entire stadium.

The Nationals are coming off of a 3-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park and are coming into Canada with a 35-23 (.603) record, leading the National League East by two games over the Atlanta Braves. The Blue Jays are coming home after a 3-3 road trip and are in fourth place in the American League East with a 31-29 (.517) record, four games behind the division-leading Tampa Bay Rays.

Brandon Morrow will be starting the game for the hometown nine, coming off of a masterful two-hit shutout in Chicago against the White Sox. Morrow has almost been two different pitchers this year:he holds the Major League lead in complete game shutouts with three, but he has also given up 6 earned runs in three starts this season. Tom and I will be at the game tonight, and we are hoping that we see Dr. Jekyll tonight.

2012 - Brandon Morrow 7-3 12 12 3 3 0 0 77.2 53 27 25 7 24 67 2.90 .99

On the hill in the bottom half of the first inning will be Edwin Jackson, who was briefly a Blue Jay for about two hours last year. Jackson came over to Toronto from the White Sox along with Mark Teahen (Coffeecock) in exchange for Jason Frasor and Zach Stewart and was immediately shipped to the St. Louis Cardinals with a bunch of players for Colby Rasmus and a bunch of players the Jays ended up getting rid of. Jackson joined the Nationals in the offseason as a free agent and is enjoying an excellent start to his Nationals career. I would say that he is one of most underrated starters in the National League right now. He is coming off of a seven-inning three-hit effort against the New York Mets. Jackson pitched in Rogers Centre last year with the White Sox, and the Jays (with Corey Patterson, Juan Rivera, and Jayson Nix in the starting lineup) had six runs on nine hits against him en route to a 9-8 victory.

2012 - Edwin Jackson 2-3 13 11 1 0 0 0 72.1 55 27 25 6 19 59 3.11 1.02

Lineups after the jump!

Washington Nationals

  1. Steve Lombardozzi LF
  2. Bryce Harper RF
  3. Ryan Zimmermann 3B
  4. Adam LaRoche 1B
  5. Michael Morse DH
  6. Ian Desmond SS
  7. Danny Espinosa 2B
  8. Roger Bernadina CF
  9. Jesus Flores C

Blue Jays

  1. Brett Lawrie 3B
  2. Colby Rasmus CF
  3. Jose Bautista RF
  4. Edwin Encarnacion DH
  5. Kelly Johnson 2B
  6. Yunel Escobar SS
  7. David Cooper 1B
  8. J.P. Arencibia C
  9. Rajai Davis LF

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