Game #26 Diamondbacks come to DC; Roark for the Nats

The Arizona Diamondbacks come to Washington D.C. as the improved team they thought they were last year. What a difference a year makes. New acquisition Taijuan Walker starts for them tonight against Tanner Roark. Walker was a top prospect for years with Seattle before they traded him with Ketel Marte to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Zac Curtis, Mitch Haniger and Jean Segura. It was a gamble for the Diamondbacks to trade Segura who had a great season last year for the Diamondbacks and received MVP votes, and Mitch Haniger was a projected, but very good, fourth outfielder for them who could start for most teams. With a month’s worth of statistics, Owings is having an All-Star type of season at shortstop as has Brandon Drury at second base.

Every D’Back starter is batting over .280 except their catcher and they are anchored by their superstar Paul Goldschmidt . The Diamondbacks are currently in 2nd place in the NL West at 16-11, and they look for real if their pitching can hold up, and their players don’t wilt as the season goes on. The D’Backs looked healthy until this past week when Shelby Miller went to the DL and will be getting UCL surgery.

Walker is the 25th right-handed starter the Nats have faced this season. Tomorrow the Nats are set to face lefty Robbie Ray which will only be the second lefty starter the Nats will have faced all season. Ray has remained in the starting rotation, and it was Archie Bradley who Arizona converted to a bullpen ace. Bradley, the 1st round pick in 2011, is filling that hybrid high leverage role taking multiple innings. He has been excellent so far, but closer Fernando Rodney has been the opposite this season and the Diamondbacks may unveil a new-look bullpen this week.

The Nationals optioned Joe Ross yesterday to Triple-A Syracuse. The official corresponding move will be announced today, but it could be a temporary move with more to come such as the opportunity to have A.J. Cole serve his suspension is what we were told by a source early this morning was the corresponding move.

Stay tuned for more on this. The move to send Ross back to Triple-A speaks volumes on how general manager Mike Rizzo views his progress as a pitcher as the quality of the sinker and slider have not provided the results as they have in prior starts in 2016 and 2015. The Nationals also promoted centerfielder Andrew Stevenson to Triple-A Syracuse in a move that makes clear who is the next man up if Stevenson can continue to hit the ball like he did in Harrisburg where he was batting .350 and an impressive .429 OBP.

There are only three Nats players who have faced Walker before. Here are the stats we have:

Arizona Diamondbacks at Washington Nationals
Stadium: Nationals Park, South Capitol St. SE, Washington, DC
1st Pitch:  7:05 pm EDT
TV: MASN2, FOX Sports Arizona , MLB.TV
Nats Radio: 106.7 FM The Fan; SiriusXM® XM 188 Sirius 212 (Internet 869)

Line-ups  (subject to change without notice):

  1. Trea Turner SS
  2. Jayson Werth LF
  3. Bryce Harper RF
  4. Ryan Zimmerman 1B
  5. Daniel Murphy 2B
  6. Anthony Rendon 3B
  7. Michael Taylor CF
  8. Jose Lobaton C
  9. Tanner Roark RHP
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