After last night’s game, the Nationals are part of the walking wounded, and we will have to see how these players wake-up and feel today. Howie Kendrick got hit squarely on his left triceps, Juan Soto fouled a ball off of his ankle, Victor Robles did a straight-leg slide into third base and jammed his leg, and Ryan Zimmerman made a tag at first base and seemed to tweak something as he was running gingerly. The Nationals have not played Anthony Rendon for over 3 games as he is nursing a contusion on his elbow, and Trea Turner remains on the 10-day IL with a broken right index finger. Who is in and who is out will remain the question for today going into this final game in Denver this season. This is the rubber game of this series as each team has won a game in this three-game series.
The pleasant surprise last night was that the Nationals bullpen threw a three-inning shutout. It lowered the bullpen ERA to 6.97, but depending on which metrics you use to judge the Nats bullpen they might not be the worst in the Majors. The Mets bullpen has a 5.15 ERA but they have given up 2 more earned runs than the Nationals albeit in 25 2/3 more innings. Still, the Mets bullpen has seen 61 runs cross the plate while the Nationals have 48 which includes unearned runs and inherited runners from the starters which does not show-up in bullpen ERA. Part of the issue in small sample sizes is including the Trevor Rosenthal and Austen Williams meltdowns which has skewed the numbers. That pair has allowed 21 runners (hits/walks/HBP) in 2 1/3 innings. In fact, the Nationals main six in the bullpen have a combined 1.33 WHIP, and Joe Ross leads the group with a 0.857 in his 4 2/3 innings. Remove Joe Cool’s shaky debut, and he has been near-perfect since then.
The issue with the bullpen continues to be how manager Dave Martinez uses the relievers which is essentially now six pitchers because he has not called on Trevor Rosenthal since April 16th.
Today’s starters are Anibal Sanchez for the visiting team, and German Marquez has been the top pitcher so far this season for the Rockies. Sanchez has a repertoire that has been conducive to some good results in Coors Field. This is an afternoon getaway game for the Nationals who head home after the game, and the team has a day-off tomorrow. Fans might have noticed that the MLB schedulers only have one travel glitch this year for the Nationals with a getaway night game in Pittsburgh in August followed by a Wrigley day game. Unless there is a Sunday night game or a time change, that August travel from Pittsburgh to Chicago is the only potential glitch for the whole season which is much better than ever before. A day-off after a series in Denver allows the team to get their pulmonary system back to normal and that is welcomed on the schedule as well as getting the walking-wounded back to 100 percent.
Washington Nationals at Colorado Rockies
Stadium: Coors Field, 2001 Blake St, Denver, CO 80205
1st Pitch: 3:10 pm EDT
TV: MASN2, ATT Sportsnet RM, MLB.TV via the MLB app
Line-ups (subject to change without notice):