Three years ago, Juan Soto stepped onto the big stage for his MLB debut in his Washington Nationals uniform at 19 years of age . It was more than most of us expected, and now he is a bona fide superstar. The only thing standing in the way of Soto and sustained greatness is his health. Last night he smashed his first home run in a dozen days, but he has only hit two home runs in the past 40 days, mostly because of his health and getting his timing back.
Hopefully Soto is ready to start smashing the ball on a daily basis as this team needs him driving in runs. This team has been run-deprived, and some of it has been self-inflicted by constant mistakes on the basepaths as well as the failures of driving in runs using productive outs, but mostly, it is a bottom of the league team in hitting with runners-in-scoring-position (RISP). Going into play yesterday, the team was batting .220 in RISP spots which was 5th worst in the Majors and the Nats held that same spot for OPS in RISP spots.
Just while he was heating up at the plate, Victor Robles turned his right ankle yesterday while running the bases and is out today. As we reported in the early morning from a source, Robles x-rays came back clean and he is day-to-day.
Today is Joe Ross‘s day to shine because he is coming off of an horrific start five days ago in which he gave up 8 earned runs. His slider wasn’t sliding and the Diamondbacks just sat on fastball and clobbered it. We once again saw that Ross is a two trick pony who throws a “meh” changeup, decent fastball, and a “plus” slider when it is working for him. With Stephen Strasburg ready to come back, Erick Fedde on the COVID-IL list, Ross’s time in the rotation could be numbered.
In this season’s finale in Chicago, the Nats will face Trevor Williams who has been an inconsistent pitcher himself. While he has been better pitching in Wrigley, he still has not been great.
After today’s game, the Nationals will head back to Washington, D.C. as they have a three-game series starting tomorrow with the Orioles. If Strasburg starts as expected tomorrow, it will be Jon Lester on Saturday and Patrick Corbin on Sunday.
Washington Nationals vs. Chicago Cubs
Stadium: Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois
1st Pitch: 2:20 pm EDT
TV: MASN, Marquee Sports Network, MLB Network (out-of-market only), MLB.TV
Nats Radio: 106.7 FM The Fan; SiriusXM® ( Streaming Internet 869)
Line-up subject to change (without notice):