The players all talked about some of the reasons for the Nats miraculous comeback in the season and overwhelmingly they said that the philosophy of “Let’s go One-and-O every day” that was the 2019 mantra of manager Dave Martinez resonated with them and made the difference in how they approached each day. The sports cliché is to take it one game at a time, and they did. The cohesive clubhouse and the belief in the next man up is something we have never seen in this team that greatly missed the departure of Jayson Werth after the 2017 season as the team leader. The team went more veteran this year while promoting one rookie, Victor Robles, onto the Opening Day roster, and he learned on the job and improved all season into the best defensive centerfielder in baseball. The additions in-season of Gerardo Parra, Fernando Rodney, and Asdrubal Cabrera who all arrived as virtual freebies via DFA’s from their previous teams, changed the vibe with a Latino flair that seemed to raise the energy level while also helping this team win games.
With all of that said, it is still difficult to comprehend what happens in baseball that often defies logic. From May 24th to today, the Nationals offense leads the entire Major Leagues in OPS at .825 and runs per game at 5.8. The Nats found balance with their starting pitching. This team hits better with runners in scoring position than they do with bases empty, and they have improved their baserunning and defense. The bullpen has been inconsistent, but at times have been brilliant like we saw yesterday in relief of Joe Ross they threw a 5.0 inning perfect game.
Today will be a day of rest for two players who have played every game without a day-off for over 110 games, and those players are Anthony Rendon (123 games) and Trea Turner (114 games). We will see how this new lineup looks. General Manager Mike Rizzo said that the plan will be to try to rest one to two of the regular starters which includes Rendon, Turner, Juan Soto, Victor Robles, and Adam Eaton. In addition, Yan Gomes will eventually need a day-off. The biggest question is whether the Nats will skip the scheduled Saturday start of Patrick Corbin and the Sunday start of Max Scherzer. Will Davey Martinez go easy on Stephen Strasburg who is scheduled to pitch tomorrow?
The Nats will have Anibal Sanchez in his last start of the regular season, and he will face Phillies lefty Drew Smyly. For the Nats, they want to keep winning and play for Home Field Advantage in the Wild Card.
Philadelphia Phillies at Washington Nationals
Stadium: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
1st Pitch: 7:05 pm EDT
TV: MASN, NBC Sports Philadelphia, MLB.TV
Nats Radio: 106.7 FM The Fan; SiriusXM® ( Streaming Internet 869)
Line-up subject to change (without notice):
Nats vs. LHP Drew Smyly
Brian Dozier – 2B
Adam Eaton – RF
Howie Kendrick – 1B
Juan Soto – LF
Asdrubal Cabrera – 3B
Yan Gomes – C
Victor Robles – CF
Wilmer Difo – SS
Anibal Sanchez – RHP
— Talk Nats ⚾ (@TalkNats2) September 25, 2019