Game #42 feels like a “must win” for the #Nats

Braves and Nats for a critical 4-game series; Photo by Sol Tucker for TalkNats

Earlier today the Washington Nationals made their four-game series rotation against the Braves “official” with Austin Voth scheduled for tonight, Erick Fedde for tomorrow, Patrick Corbin on Saturday, and Max Scherzer on Sunday. We will see if there are short leashes on Voth and Fedde because the previous strategy has not worked. The Nats had an option with the day-off yesterday to skip Voth, but manager Dave Martinez said they did not consider that.

Voth has lost all five of his decisions this year, and the Nats are 1-6 in games he has started. He has one good start on his record, but from a baseball perspective, his starts feel like he is the “opener” of doom as he has lasted an average of less than 4 1/3 innings with an ERA of 8.26. His postgame interviews tell us he has no idea what is wrong — just that it is not working. Sure, we can hope for the best or have a plan in place in case if it is not working. These have to be “must win” games if the Nats truly want to be in the postseason.

We knew the Nationals had a roster move to make today after they put Howie Kendrick on the 10-day IL yesterday, and manager Davey Martinez in his pre-game presser announced that they are calling up Yadiel Hernandez for Kendrick’s roster spot. The 32-year-old Cuban outfielder will take the last 40-man spot that was opened when Wilmer Difo was DFA’d. Once the lefty enters a game, it will also mark his MLB debut. Davey said that Hernandez “teared” up when he was told of the promotion to the bigs.

Hernandez is actually less than a month from turning 33 years of age. Based on what we have seen, Hernandez’s debut would make him the oldest Nats’ player to ever debut. We thought Dakota Bacus was old at 29 ½ when he made his debut in August, and Hernandez beat him by more than three years. By the way, a source tells us Bacus’ doctor’s appointment today showed no damage to his UCL which is great news when you suffer a forearm flexor injury. Chances are that Bacus is done for the regular season.

Speaking of forearm flexor strains, we reported yesterday that Roenis Elias is throwing at the team’s minor league camp in Fredericksburg and could be recalled soon. If he is recalled, he would need a 40-man spot as he was moved to the 60-day IL.

In tonight’s game, Martinez, who was born in New York with deep Puerto Rican roots, will wear jersey #21 tonight along with his coaching staff to honor Roberto Clemente.

Of course everything in tonight’s game is also subject to the weather with storms pounding the area since last night. Scattered storms are possible all night.

The Braves are going with Robbie Erlin who is a lefty pitcher who they have used in long relief and spot starts. He has not gone longer than 4.0 innings in any start and his ERA is 1.42 better than the Nats starter, Voth. Neither is great, but the Braves try to pull Erlin once he gets into trouble.

Atlanta Braves vs. Washington Nationals
Stadium:  Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
1st Pitch: 6:05 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:


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