The good news is the Nationals will get to rest some regulars this week in the DH (designated hitter) role as they play in an American League series in Houston. There was a time back in June where the Astros and Nationals were ranked #1 and #2 in the power rankings, and these are still two of the best teams in baseball. This 3-game series between the Nationals and Astros won’t be a great indicator of their real teams since so many players on both sides are on the DL. Most notable are the absences of Bryce Harper, Carlos Correa, Trea Turner, Lance McCullers, Jayson Werth, Evan Gattis, Max Scherzer, and Adam Eaton. That is a lengthy list and there are more players missing like Brian McCann who is set to come back for the game on Thursday against the Nationals.
Both teams have clearly been hobbled by injuries, but the Astros will get back all of their key players by mid-September, and the Nationals should get everyone back with the notable exception of Adam Eaton unless a miracle happens.
In Spring Training, they faced each other a total of 7 times in games and as neighbors at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. There was fun talk about “what if” they were to face each other in the post-season which could only be possible if that was in the World Series. Yes, funny talk, but both teams will make it to the Division Series of their respective leagues and be two of the remaining “Elite 8” at that point and part of the “Final Four” in their leagues. What if, what if.
The last time the Nationals played the Astros on March 26th, here was the starting line-up:
- Trea Turner SS
- Daniel Murphy 2B
- Bryce Harper RF
- Anthony Rendon 3B
- Jayson Werth LF
- Ryan Zimmerman 1B
- Adam Eaton CF
- Jose Lobaton C
- Gio Gonzalez LHP
This was the Astros boxscore from that game:
Tonight’s line-ups for each team will look much different than they when they last met almost 5 months ago to the day. Two familiar pitchers will be taking the mound in Tanner Roark for the Nationals and right-handed Charlie Morton for the Astros.
Morton has extreme reverse splits as righties overall hit him well (.284 BA) and lefties really struggle to a .160/.263/.266/.529 split. Daniel Murphy has faced Morton 21 times in his career and has a .190 mark against him, and lefty Adam Lind is at .143. Ryan Zimmerman has struggled the most at a career 1-for-11 against Morton. As they say, it’s a new day.
Washington Nationals at Houston Astros
Stadium: Minute Maid Park
1st Pitch: 8:10 pm EDT
TV: MASN2, AT&T Sportsnet – Southwest, MLB.TV
Nats Radio: 106.7 FM The Fan; SiriusXM® (Internet 869)
Line-ups (subject to change without notice):
Baseball is back tonight and here's how we're lining up in Houston. pic.twitter.com/BgRchdXawC
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) August 22, 2017