It is birth and rebirth in Washington, D.C. There is so much going on today in Washington, D.C. as the city gets ready for America’s 243rd birthday, and Max Scherzer and his wife Erica are experiencing the birth today of their second daughter, and the Washington Nationals are having an historic rebirth when they were left for a “lost season” six weeks ago.
A passage from Barry Svrluga’s May 23rd obituary on the Nats’ 2019 season: “The season is lost now, even before Memorial Day, and no veteran manager or fireballing reliever is going to alter that sorry state. The Washington Nationals arrived in New York in position to get the Mets’ manager fired. Instead, they depart Flushing with four odious performances that lead to the conclusion that their own manager is the one who should be removed — and with larger questions afoot. Dave Martinez’s time as an effective leader of the Nats is over, if it ever existed.”
From one holiday to another, the rumors of the team’s demise was greatly exaggerated. Svrluga did not even afford this team the professional courtesy of a puncher’s chance. He declared the season lost before it was even one-third complete. This team has shown more fight than Rocky Balboa and picked themselves off of the canvas and this morning are now in the playoff hunt for the Wild Card. In fact, by a margin of .001 the Nationals are in control of the second Wild Card spot. The Nationals are far from clinching anything, but they are clearly in the mix. The cliché of taking it “one game at a time” is perfect for their situation. That is how the Nationals are back in this position.
For this matinee start time of 11:05 am, the Nationals start Anibal Sanchez who is going through his own career rebirth, and he faces his old team that he made his MLB debut with in 2006. The other player on the field whose rookie season was in 2006 needs his own rebirth. Ryan Zimmerman is 2-11 since he returned six days ago. His manager, his team, and the fans who support him need Zim to step up because what you did two years ago has little bearing on what you will do today when you are nearly 35-years-old with aching feet and a shoulder that has taken a beating over the years.
The Marlins have the right-handed Elieser Hernandez on the mound, and today is a getaway day for their team. All of the Nats starters have faced Hernandez before in small sample sizes except for Brian Dozier. Manager Dave Martinez inserted Gerardo Parra into rightfield today and Kurt Suzuki behind the plate and Ryan Zimmerman back at first base.
Perhaps the biggest challenge for the Nationals today is piecing together the back of the bullpen as closer Sean Doolittle is not available today and probably not tomorrow also given his heavy workload the last two nights.
Miami Marlins at Washington Nationals
Stadium: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
1st Pitch: 11:05 am EDT
TV: MASN2, FOX Sports South Florida, MLB Network (out-of-market) MLB.TV
Nats Radio: 106.7 FM The Fan; SiriusXM® ( Streaming Internet 869)
Line-up subject to change (without notice):