Back in Washington, D.C. today, that Skittles tarp will be an indelible image etched in the minds of Nationals fans, and today it covers a sunny field on a day when Nationals Park is empty as the Nationals will play their final game of 2018 in Colorado. Some of us have cried enough tears this 2018 season to cover the tarp. If you count March, the Nats had only 3 winning months this season along with May and September, and at least will finish the season on a high note with a winning month, a winning record for the season, and a 2nd Place finish. This month has given us a glimpse into the future with the “Dream Team Outfield” of Juan Soto and Victor Robles. The future is bright for the Nationals on a sunny day back home where Mike Rizzo will head to immediately after today’s game to begin working on his 2019 plans.
Speaking of Victor Robles, he comes into today’s game with a .286 batting average and an .874 OPS. If Robles can go 2-for-4 today, he will finish the season at .300, and if Soto can crank 2 homers today he will join legendary status along with the Red Sox legend Tony Conigliaro. For shortstop Trea Turner, he needs one home run to join the exclusive 20/40 Club, and catcher Spencer Kieboom has a chance to be the team’s top offensive catcher with a big game today.
The story getting more attention is about who is not playing today. It is Max Scherzer who was the probable starter today, and he is not pitching now. Scherzer has thrown 243 more pitches than any other NL pitcher, and coincidentally the pitcher right behind Scherzer is Colorado’s Kyle Freeland. In innings pitched, Scherzer leads the Majors with 220 2/3 innings. To pitch Scherzer today in Colorado made little sense in many respects. His Colorado stats were less than stellar coming into this weekend making it a move that was not a sure thing as Scherzer is 0-3 at Coors Field with a .922 OPS and a 5.88 ERA. He has given up 5 home runs there in 110 at-bats. Those are all reasons to say — why force it?
Instead of Scherzer, the Nationals will pitch Erick Fedde in the last game of 2018. For the Rockies, this game means a lot, and the same for the Dodgers who are back in a tie for first place in the NL West thanks to Stephen Strasburg and his offense with the big win last night.
All games start between 3:05 and 3:20 pm this afternoon EDT. There is no wait and see advantage for teams on the hunt in the NL Central and the NL West.
The Rockies will start lefty Tyler Anderson which has allowed manager Dave Martinez to go with his younger right-handed line-up. Adam Eaton is not in the starting line-up, and he got his batting average back over .300 for the season. Ryan Zimmerman will sit the final weekend on the bench and this could be the last time we will ever see Bryce Harper in a Nationals uniform. There will certainly be some more tears falling today.
Washington Nationals vs. Colorado Rockies
Stadium: Coors Field, Denver, Colorado
1st Pitch: 3:10 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:
- Victor Robles CF
- Trea Turner SS
- Bryce Harper RF
- Anthony Rendon 3B
- Juan Soto LF
- Mark Reynolds 1B
- Adrian Sanchez 2B
- Spencer Kieboom C
- Erick Fedde RHP