Nats fans should be thrilled to be in a position in this series to have no worse than a split in the series with a chance to win this 4-game set. The pitching match-up favors the Cubs as they can start their line-up today with 3 lefties to go against Joe Ross. The Cubs have one of their best pitchers on the mound in Jon Lester.
We don’t know if Dusty Baker decided to change-up his original line-up, but generally on a day game he would have Jose Lobaton catching, but in his last 22 at-bats against Jon Lester, Matt Wieters is batting .364 with 6 RBIs and Dusty Baker is sticking with his “A” line-up for the afternoon finale today against the Chicago Cubs.
— Byron Kerr (@masnKerr) June 29, 2017
The Fangraphs ratings for the All-Star game are complete, and Nats fans will be mostly pleased that Ryan Zimmerman was chosen…but not as a starter. They rightfully picked Paul Goldschmidt and it would have been Freddie Freeman if he wasn’t injured. Rendon was edged out by Justin Turner. Dave Cameron of Fangraphs did choose Daniel Murphy and Bryce Harper as his starters. Cameron only chose one Nationals pitcher and that is Max Scherzer. Of course Stephen Strasburg is worthy, but you need that mix of starters and relievers. Gio Gonzalez didn’t make the list mostly because of how Cameron uses fWAR ratings.
You will notice two ex-Nats on the list (Felipe Rivero and Robbie Ray) of Cameron’s pick as All-Star pitchers, and you might also notice a name or 3 that we have discussed for acquisitions:
All you hear about is Manny Machado is the best 3rd baseman in baseball. Wrong. Anthony Rendon is the #1 3rd baseman in baseball according to Fangraphs fractionally ahead of Justin Turner who has been an offensive force. Machado is the 12th rated 3rd baseman batting .223. Let your acquaintances know who follow that team from Charm City what the real score is.
Your top rated Nationals’ players and probably your MVP is Anthony Rendon for position players and Max Scherzer for the pitchers. Rendon has surpassed Bryce Harper by 0.1 in fWAR at +3.3. Stephen Strasburg is next on the ratings followed by Daniel Murphy and Ryan Zimmerman. The next tier is Michael Taylor and Trea Turner who are almost tied for fWAR, but it is based on a formula that most likely doesn’t weight heavily the havoc Trea Turner causes and those 11 errors he has forced. Turner has forced 10 errors that of course count as “outs” on his statline. Gio Gonzalez is just behind Trea Turner to round out an impressive top 8 and if we combine Brian Goodwin, Adam Lind and Stephen Drew as one player they combine for +2.1 fWAR.
Here are your Nats stats against Jon Lester:
Chicago Cubs at Washington Nationals
Stadium: Nationals Park, 1500 South Capitol Street SE, Washington, DC 20003
1st Pitch: 4:05 pm EDT
TV: MASN, MLB Network (out-of-market), Comcast (Chicago), MLB.TV
Nats Radio: 106.7 FM The Fan; SiriusXM® XM 183 Sirius 216 (Internet 869)
Line-ups (subject to change without notice):
- Trea Turner SS
- Ryan Raburn LF
- Bryce Harper RF
- Ryan Zimmerman 1B
- Daniel Murphy 2B
- Anthony Rendon 3B
- Matt Wieters C
- Michael Taylor CF
- Joe Ross RHP