Game #51 Nats face another lefty starter

Photo by Marlene Koenig for TalkNats

With the Nationals facing another left-handed starting pitcher, the Nationals are able to continue alternating in their 1st place platoon to keep getting Mark Reynolds enough at-bats to keep his timing. Between Reynolds and Matt Adams, they have combined for 16 home runs in just 138 at-bats. Compare that output against Mookie Betts who leads the Majors with 17 home runs in 180 at-bats.

Speaking of home runs, Michael Taylor hit another one last night and now has a .940 career OPS in Marlins Park. In the state of Florida, Taylor is now batting .282 in his career. The Sunshine State is where Taylor was born and raised in Ft. Lauderdale, and with 24 games played in the state of Florida, MAT is building quite the resumé and has now keyed two victories this week.

The Nationals received more good news yesterday that more help is on the way as word came from the Double-A Harrisburg Senators in a Press release that ‘infielder Daniel Murphy and outfielder Brian Goodwin are expected to join the Senators on rehab for games Saturday and Sunday against the Altoona Curve at FNB Field”.

If Murphy, Goodwin, and Eaton all return soon it could mean that Juan Soto‘s days with the Nationals could be over in the near-term as well as for Andrew Stevenson and Adrian Sanchez in the four-man bench configuration. The new bench would be catcher Spencer Kieboom, utility man Wilmer Difo, outfielder Brian Goodwin, and corner infielder Mark Reynolds until catcher Matt Wieters is ready to return then presumably Kieboom would come off the roster. When Ryan Zimmerman is ready to return, it is very possible the Nationals go back to a 5-man bench. The question is: who plays 1st base when Ryan Zimmerman returns since Reynolds and Adams are both putting up exceptional numbers with better defense than Zimmerman?

It was Howie Kendrick‘s season-ending injury that opened the door for Mark Reynolds who is now proving he can be a very productive platoon bat against left-handed pitching.

Today will feature Tanner Roark going up against lefty Wei Yin Chen. Last year, Chen missed all but 9 games, and this year has only had 5 starts. The Scott Boras client is in the middle of his 5-year $80 million deal where he has given the Marlins a 4.95 ERA over the first 2 1/3 years. This season, Chen has a 6.55 ERA and righties are tattooing him at a 1.005 OPS. The key is to work Chen as the higher the pitch count the higher level of success by the batters.

MLB teams this week through Memorial Day will be wearing camouflage style uniforms to honor the military and memorialize the fallen. Under Armour will honor the military this Memorial Day, specifically the 1st Infantry Division, with two different specially designed cleats worn by UA athletes throughout the league. Bryce Harper will step out for the first time in his third signature cleat, the Harper 3, while other athletes will wear the UA Yard.

Both Memorial Day special makeup cleats being worn on Monday are tributes to the 1st Infantry Division, the oldest continuously serving division in the US Army having just turned 101 years old last week. The cleats bear the division’s moniker, “Big Red One” written on the heel or tongue, for Harper 3 and UA Yard respectively.

Washington Nationals vs. Miami Marlins
Stadium: Marlins Park, Miami, Florida
1st Pitch:  4:10 pm EDT
TV: MASN2; MLB App out-of-market
Nats Radio: 106.7 The Fan and via the MLB app

Line-ups subject to change without notice:

  1. Trea Turner SS
  2. Bryce Harper RF
  3. Anthony Rendon 3B
  4. Mark Reynolds 1B
  5. Juan Soto LF
  6. Michael Taylor CF
  7. Pedro Severino C
  8. Tanner Roark RHP
  9. Wilmer Difo 2B
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