Leading into this game, the Nationals have 73-games remaining in the regular season, and they open up baseball’s second half of the season against the rival Phillies in Philadelphia. General manager Mike Rizzo and manager Dave Martinez have set-up their rotation with Stephen Strasburg in the number one spot in the rotation, Patrick Corbin in the number two spot, and Max Scherzer will get some much deserved extra rest and pitch in the number three spot followed by Anibal Sanchez. In a series of moves that raised some eyebrows, Rizzo also assigned a trio of number five starting pitchers to Double-A Harrisburg. Erick Fedde, Austin Voth and Kyle McGowin will all be closer to Washington, D.C. and could be used on a rotating group of number five pitchers. Per MLB rules, an optioned player has to spend ten days in the Minor Leagues. With three players the Nats could essentially move in fresh arms into the rotation then option them back. That would also allow the team to bring up an extra player in four game stints between the time that a number five pitcher will be used again. The Dodgers have used a system like this before to much success.
Additionally, the Nationals officially moved left-handed reliever Jonny Venters to the 10-day IL retroactive to July 8th. The Nationals will add a player to the roster today. It could be Brad Boxberger or another player or possibly a trade candidate. The Nationals do not need a number five starter until Wednesday when they will have to remove a player from the roster.
The Phillies have set-up their rotation with the right-handed Nick Pivetta who is a former Nats farmhand. Aaron Nola is set as their number two and he will most likely be followed by Jake Arrieta who the Phillies have not officially named to pitch Sunday as the spot is still listed as “TBD” on the schedule.
The only Nats position player without a hit against Pivetta is Victor Robles. By the way, Ryan Zimmerman is 5-9 against Pivetta with a home run. Gerardo Parra is 3-5 against the Phillies pitcher.
Also note the early start time for tonight’s game at 6:05 pm. A very happy 36th birthday to Howie Kendrick!
Washington Nationals vs. Philadelphia Phillies
Stadium: Citizens Bank Ballpark, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1st Pitch: 6:05 pm EDT
TV: MASN, NBC Sports Philadelphia, 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):