Yesterday, we learned that Joe Ross was scratched from today’s start with forearm discomfort and replaced by Austin Voth. The Nats are dealing with many injury issues as well as some players in deep slumps. The timing could not be worse as Ross, Roenis Elias and Adam Eaton (in the lineup tonight) are all dealing with injuries plus Matt Adams and Gerardo Parra are scuffling. Adams is batting .050 with a .224 OPS the last two weeks, and Parra is batting .104 with a .314 OPS in the last month. On top of all of that, closer Sean Doolittle does not look like the top closer he was at the beginning of the season as he is struggling to get his fastball to 94 mph. The Nationals have lost four of their previous five games, and they are playing sloppy baseball and not taking advantage of golden opportunities on offense.
“We missed an opportunity early to put some big runs on the board,” manager Dave Martinez said about yesterday’s first inning failure. “Keuchel pitched out of a jam there. … Just couldn’t get any runs that first inning.”
Martinez was referring to a bases loaded situation in the first inning where Juan Soto was walked with one out to load the bases, and the Nats came up empty after an inning ending doubleplay. In the Cubs series, the Nats dominated with making solid contact and not chasing balls out of the zone. In the past week, the Nationals are not taking enough walks, and there are too many long swings without the run production. Juan Soto is 2-11 with six strikeouts over the last three games. Every Nats position player had a hit last night except for Soto. He has to take what the game is giving him, and if the other team wants to pitch around Soto — he needs to accept the walks and keep the line moving.
The Braves have Julio Teheran pitching tonight, and he has certainly had his share of failures and successes against this Nationals team. Some of the players who have hit him well in the past like Matt Adams are not in the lineup because overall Adams is slumping, and Adam Eaton is working his way back from a bone bruise below his knee and will be back in the lineup tonight.
“ I talked to [Adam Eaton] today, and he said he felt good,” Martinez said. “We are going to give it a whirl and see what happens.”
Is this wise? We will see.
Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves
Stadium: SunTrust Bank, Atlanta, Georgia
1st Pitch: 7:20 pm EDT
TV: MASN, FOX Sports Southeast, MLB.TV
Nats Radio: 106.7 FM The Fan; SiriusXM® ( Streaming Internet 869)
Line-up subject to change (without notice):