Reading over comments about the Washington Nationals over-use of the bullpen, it just is not factually true as the Nationals have the 3rd lowest usage of the bullpen at 3.0 innings per game. The only teams that are less are the Astros and the Cleveland Indians at 2.8 and 2.7 innings respectively. The Indians have had 3-complete games which has kept their relievers fresh. While Ryan Madson has appeared in 11 games, that is the 15th highest of any reliever for the number of appearances. For reliever innings, Matt Grace leads the Nationals in most innings at 10 2/3, and he ranks only the 41st for most relief innings. The issue seems more to usage and statistical match-ups rather than over-use except for the case of Ryan Madson.
The Nationals will bolster the bullpen by activating Austin Adams and sending Anthony Rendon to the DL. By MLB rules, Rendon will have to sit at least 7 days as the 10-day DL can only be backdated for 3 days. At this point, Rendon probably needed to fully rest the bruised toe and then go can go on a rehab assignment to face live pitching and get his timing back. Manager Dave Martinez practically guaranteed that Rendon would return this weekend. There were days the Nationals played with Goodwin and Rendon on the bench with neither available which put the Nationals at a severe disadvantage with a 3-man bench. Going forward, the Nationals will employ an 8-man bullpen and a 4-man bench.
With Rendon going to the DL, the Nationals will be without Rendon, Adam Eaton, Daniel Murphy and Brian Goodwin for over half this season-to-date. Their combined absences is really taking its toll on this team that just cannot make up for their production.
Tonight’s game is the ESPN Sunday Night game of the week and first pitch is at 8:05 pm EDT.
Washington Nationals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Stadium: Dodgers Stadium, Chavez Ravine, California
1st Pitch: 8:05 pm EDT
Nats Radio: 106.7 The Fan and via the MLB app
Line-ups subject to change without notice: