Every game is crucial for the Nationals as there is less than 45% of the season remaining, and the Nationals could really use a win tonight and for starter Jeremy Hellickson to go deep into the game. With that said, it is too soon to talk about the team going into “sell” mode when they are only 5 ½ games out of first place, but it does not stop the salacious rumors of trading Bryce Harper and others. Trade talks involving Harper get more newspapers sold, extra TV viewership, and give websites a boost of traffic and views and clicks. Those tantalizing tidbits when you see those headlines you hate — usually get you to click. It’s human nature that people want to talk about it.
In a strange twist to manager Dave Martinez’s getting over the “hump” proclamations, it reminded me of “The Last Straw” game about a camel whose back breaks with the burden of all the weight put on it. That weight seems to have been transferred to Davey who has clearly been struggling with the stress. It is never easy at the helm of a team with playoff aspirations. Davey was just 2-years-old when this game was produced, and while there is some irony here, there is also a lot of truth about the camel.
This is one game in the 71 remaining, and it would be a good time for Jeremy Hellickson to lead his team in a win. Hellickson goes up against the right-handed Joe Musgrove who has a near identical ERA. Both pitchers have also had good success against the other team so this will come down to execution and doing the “little things” that manager Dave Martinez talks about often.
The Nationals will be making a roster move today and that will be announced shortly. Some expect Jefry Rodriguez to be sent back down, but Mike Rizzo could have other ideas. It is not as if Stephen Strasburg is ready to rejoin the roster, and the Nats have seemed reluctant to use Austin Voth in a game.
Washington Nationals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
Stadium: PNC Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
1st Pitch: 7:05 pm EDT
TV: MASN2; MLB app out-of-market
Nats Radio: 106.7 The Fan and via the MLB app
Line-ups subject to change without notice: