The Nationals will officially activate Anibal Sanchez off of the 10-day IL to start tonight’s game in Atlanta. It was with the Braves that Sanchez resurrected his career in 2018 which enabled him to sign a lucrative contract in the off-season with the Nats. Sanchez had a 2.83 ERA last season, and he parlayed that into a 2-year $19 million guaranteed deal with a 2021 team option. What the Nationals are hoping for is a return to greatness for Anibal Sanchez after this IL stint as you cannot change the results in his first nine games in a Nationals’ uniform. Sanchez’s 5.10 ERA is not what general manager Mike Rizzo paid for, and Sanchez has to step-up tonight just like the four starters who pitched in consecutive days before him.
If you are into exciting baseball with a Nationals win at the end, last night’s game was perfect for you. The Nationals need to tighten the mistakes up because as Rizzo said teams in general have little margin for error. The smallest of mistakes can have the largest negative impacts. Last night it was two pick-offs on the basepaths and missing a cut-off man on a throw. Fortunately, the Nationals won the game despite the mistakes because Stephen Strasburg was better last night than the Braves young phenom starter Max Fried. Both bullpens allowed two runs to score and that evened out, and the Nationals took the one-run win.
For the Braves tonight, they send Kevin Gausman to the mound. He was a 2018 deadline acquisition from the Orioles. The right-handed Gausman has been equally disappointing for the Braves with his 4.33 ERA and 2-3 record.
Of note, the Nationals will make a roster move to add Sanchez back to the roster, and the team will either send back James Bourque or Kyle McGowin. It was Bourque who had a debut to forget in his only appearance, and McGowin has a 9.00 ERA over his two appearances which includes one spot start.
Tomorrow morning, the Nationals head to Cincinnati for a weekend series, and they will get a day-off tomorrow in the rare free day on the calendar on the road. Expect a few players to hide at the Hyde Park Country Club golf course tomorrow while others will catch up on their sleep.
Washington Nationals vs. Atlanta Braves
Stadium: SunTrust Park, Atlanta, Georgia
1st Pitch: 7:20 pm EDT
TV: MASN; FOX Sports Southeast, MLB App out-of-market
Nats Radio: 106.7 The Fan and via the MLB app
Line-ups subject to change without notice: