With all of the Nationals health problems, they limped into this series with replacement players who were not projected as starters — and some who were not even part of the plans for this season. These three Dominican players dubbed the Tres Amigos have come up big in this series. We are talking about Pedro Severino and Moises Sierra along with bench utility man Wilmer Difo. This is what you need to win games when you are missing star players like Daniel Murphy, Adam Eaton and Anthony Rendon. In this series, the tres amigos combined for 8 hits in 19 at-bats (.421) with 5 RBIs and were keys to both wins.
Moises Sierra began the season as a minor leaguer who was signed to a non-guaranteed contract and Pedro Severino was sent to Triple-A Syracuse as the Nationals chose Miguel Montero ahead of him for the Opening Day roster. Meanwhile, Wilmer Difo was bench depth on the Opening Day roster. All three of these players stepped up at a time when Rendon was hobbled by a foot injury and Brian Goodwin who replaced the injured Adam Eaton was injured himself and joins Eaton on the 10-day disabled list.
The last game Sierra played in the big leagues prior to this week was on September 28th of 2014. Whether Sierra stays on this roster when Adam Eaton and Goodwin return is a long-shot, but Sierra is used to competing and persevering as he has been released so many times since 2013 that he has lost count. With Severino, Difo, Goodwin, Howie Kendrick, and Matt Adams as the solidified bench, Sierra could stick around when Goodwin comes back and Matt Reynolds could get sent back to Triple-A Syracuse, but when Daniel Murphy returns, Howie Kendrick will move back to a bench role — or at least that is the blueprint. Change happens often so we will see how this goes.
Tonight’s game is the finale in this three game series with the rival New York Mets who stand atop the NL East. Tanner Roark will start this game for the Nats against lefty Steven Matz for the Mets.
Today’s issue is the Nats bullpen probably won’t include Brandon Kintzler who threw 27 pitches last night and 10 pitches on Monday night, and the same for Ryan Madson who pitched two nights in a row. Everyone else could be available, but usage stats for Sammy Solis hints not to pitch him in back-to-back games. With a day-off tomorrow, manager Dave Martinez will check in with his bullpen group to take an inventory of arms.
The other part of the walking wounded is Anthony Rendon who was removed from Friday’s game with a bruised toe. Rendon continues to be day-to-day and we will find out soon if Rendon plays today or waits for the weekend. If Rendon goes on the 10-day DL, you can only go back 3 games retroactively to back-date a DL move.
Speaking of the DL, Adam Eaton is eligible to come off of the DL on Friday. There has been no news that Mighty Mouse has participated in batting since he injured his ankle or if he will go on a rehab assignment at a minor league affiliate.
If you are into projecting stats, Bryce Harper is on a 72 home run pace with 162 RBIs. Trea Turner is on a 72 stolen base pace, and Turner and Michael Taylor should combine for 126 steals. With the cold weather the Nationals have been enduring, it makes it difficult to project the power stats, and the Nationals only have 13 home runs from players not named Bryce Harper.
For tonight’s match-up against Steven Matz, it is a mixed bag of results. Even some of the right-handed Nats have not produced well as Ryan Zimmerman is 0-for-11, Howie Kendrick 1-for-8, Matt Wieters (batting RH) 1-for-6, and Trea Turner 2-for-10. The only right-handed batters with some success against Matz is Pedro Severino 2-for-2, Wilmer Difo (batting RH) 1-for-2, and Michael Taylor 3-for-12.
Washington Nationals vs. New York Mets
Stadium: CitiField, Queens, New York
1st Pitch: 7:10 pm EDT
TV: MASN; MLB App out-of-market
Nats Radio: 106.7 The Fan and via the MLB app
Line-ups subject to change without notice: