Game #86 Today is the first day of the rest of your life!

Photo by Andrew Lang for TalkNats

You can’t change the past — but you can change the future making this the first day of the rest of your life. The Nationals enter tonight’s game at one game under .500 and facing a Miami Marlins team that has low expectations. After the National had a team meeting last night, you hope this is a more inspired Nationals team that shows up for the 85th game of this season.

The Marlins will activate Martin Prado for this game, and he is back in the starting line-up for Miami. The Nationals will activate Jefry Rodriguez while placing Erick Fedde on the 10-Day DL. For now, JRod will provide the bullpen with length if needed since the bullpen had to cover 8 innings yesterday.

In the Nats line-up tonight, Matt Adams gets the start at 1st base shifting Daniel Murphy to 2nd base. The struggling Bryce Harper who is batting .215 which is the lowest level for him since June 22nd when he was batting .214.

“I’ve dealt with greatness in this game for a long time,” Scott Boras said. “And the great thing about trials in the game that the game brings to great players is that you have to look at what the game and the opponents are trying to do and what the game is trying to do to prohibit greatness. Because [Bryce Harper] gets off to a great start, what do they do? Well, they’re going to starve him from the strike zone. And remember they’re not doing this to a [Mike] Trout or a [Manny] Machado. Why is that? They’re great players. Why are they not doing it to them? — Yet they’re doing it to Bryce? And the answer to that, I think, is largely that [the] power component carries a great fear.”

Starve him from the strike zone? What is Scott Boras talking about? He mentions Mike Trout and Manny Machado, and they hit with power. Has he checked Fangraphs lately? Boras then moved on from pitchers not wanting to throw Bryce strikes to putting defensive shifts on him.

“It’s clear that hard-hit balls have almost 100-115 point lower [batting] average for left-handed hitters versus right-handed hitters with exit velocities of above 93 miles an hour,” Boras said. “We see that’s an effect just by merely being right-handed versus left-handed [due to shifts]. So when you see stats like that, you know there’s reason for change because the game should be equal for both sides, whether you’re a left-handed or right-handed hitter.”

Does Boras realize that teams shift on right-handed batters? Teams don’t put a shortstop 15 to 20 feet onto the outfield grass in a shift on right-handed batters because most righties will beat a throw from that point, but they do shift and put 2nd baseman to the left side of the infield. Shifts aren’t going away any time soon, and if Bryce Harper wants to raise his average, we suggest he starts going oppo more and maybe some bunts down the 3rd base line. Teams don’t shift on every left-handed batter — mostly just those who pull the ball with great consistency. Change the consistency — change the shifts.

For the Nationals, they have Jeremy Hellickson starting today, and he will face rookie righty Pablo Lopez who has one career start to his name.

Miami Marlins vs. Washington Nationals
Stadium:  Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
1st Pitch: 7:05  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:

  1. Trea Turner SS
  2. Juan Soto LF
  3. Anthony Rendon 3B
  4. Bryce Harper RF
  5. Matt Adams 1B
  6. Daniel Murphy 2B
  7. Michael Taylor CF
  8. Pedro Severino
  9. Jeremy Hellickson RHP
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