Murphy, playing right field, is batting sixth. Craig Gentry moves to center field and bats eighth.
"No particular reason, just felt like he needed a day," Washington said regarding his reasons for giving Cruz the night off. "It gives Murphy a chance. Hopefully against this lefty, he will lock him in."
The lefty Murphy is facing is Houston's Wandy Rodriguez (5-4, 3.21 ERA). On the season, Murphy is hitting .169 against left-handed pitching with 11 strikeouts in 59 at-bats.
Overall, Murphy is struggling. He came in as a defensive replacement in Wednesday night's victory, but he has just one hit in his last 15 at-bats.
While Washington didn't give out specific reasons for sitting Cruz, the slugger is just 4-for-21 in the last five games. Cruz went 0-for-4 on Wednesday night.