The weather at first pitch in Philadelphia tonight will be slightly warmer than yesterday at 55ºF with 12mph winds which will diminish by nightfall. The Washington Nationals start the birthday-boy Jeremy Guthrie, who is making his Nats debut, as their 5th starter while the Phillies have right-handed Aaron Nola to start for them. Both teams have taxed their bullpens, and the Nationals must hope Guthrie goes deep in the game as the newly minted 38-year-old right-hander is hoping to dazzle tonight and stay on as the Nationals fifth starter.
In order to make room for Jeremy Guthrie, the Nationals have sent Michael Taylor to Triple-A Syracuse instead of what we were told that the corresponding move would be Wilmer Difo. Whatever changed in that decision, you must ask Mike Rizzo. Maybe one of those “organizational decisions” if you know what that refers to. The other point seems to be no bullpen move to add a fresh arm for Dusty Baker. Guthrie’s addition to the active roster means the 40-man roster is now at 39 players.
Guthrie will not be wearing jersey #80 like he did for Spring Training as he has now earned one of those jerseys numbers that doesn’t sound like he is an NFL wide receiver. Guthrie will wear jersey #18 which was last worn by Matt Belisle in 2016, and before him Michael Taylor wore #18 and that is who Guthrie just replaced. In the NFL, jersey numbers 19 and below are reserved for quarterbacks, punters, and kickers, but occasionally a wide receiver can wear 10-19. The most famous #18—Peyton Manning; and he was pretty good they say when he was 38-years-old.
Guthrie has not appeared in an MLB game since 2015 when he was with the Kansas City Royals. Last year, Guthrie pitched for the Marlins and Padres minor league Triple-A affiliates and had a combined 7.17 ERA, but Guthrie had a good spring training and was one of the standouts as he pitched to a 2.41 ERA with 15 strikeouts in a combined 18 2/3 innings. The plan is to still call Joe Ross up at some point, and that point will be very dependent on how Guthrie does today.
There was the time back in 2002, when Guthrie was the 22nd overall pick of the Cleveland Indians in the 1st round of the draft, but he never became that top-prospect and was waived after 5 years and picked up as a freebie by the Orioles where he mostly struggled and never lived up to the hype. Guthrie only has 19 games of tenure in the National League and his best season of his career was 2012 with the Royals. His career 4.37 ERA has certainly been a combination of some good and bad years, and this probably is his last chance to show he can return to his 2012 form.
Here is the Nationals stats against Aaron Nola:
Washington Nationals at the Philadelphia Phillies
Stadium: Citizens Bank Ballpark, Philadelphia, PA
1st Pitch: 7:05 pm EDT
TV: MASN2, NBC10, MLB.TV
Line-ups (subject to change without notice):