Desperate times call for desperate measures, and the depleted Nats will pitch Jon Lester tonight on three day’s rest. Because of last Friday’s rainout, the Nats needed to improvise for a starter for this game. Lester only threw 74 pitches in the game, and became the natural choice for manager Dave Martinez to do this for the team even though Lester has only pitched once in the last 10 years on short rest. Also, Martinez will rest the “hot” Ryan Zimmerman and go with Josh Bell tonight in the cleanup spot.
Normally starting Bell would not be a big deal since he is a switch-hitter, but Bell is a woeful .100 (3-30) against left-handed pitchers this season, and is 1-7 (.143) against Smyly and more recently (May 6th) at 0-2 against him with a walk. Zim has played back-to-back games this season including three in a row from April 9-11. The other choice would be to play Jordy Mercer at first base.
Okay, Soto is 0-6 against Smyly, but the difference is the Nats don’t have another righty outfielder unless they put Josh Harrison out there and Mercer at second base, but don’t you want Soto in there? Yes.
As expected, Stephen Strasburg was put on the 10-day IL with a neck sprain, and Kyle McGowin was selected off of the taxi squad. The Nats next dilemma is going to be who pitches on Sunday in Strasburg’s spot? It could be a bullpen game with Austin Voth as the opener or the team could reach into the minors. The team is saying that Erick Fedde will no be available.
Washington Nationals vs. Atlanta Braves
Stadium: Truist Park, Atlanta, Georgia
1st Pitch: 7:20 pm EDT
TV: MASN, Bally Sports South, MLB.TV
Nats Radio: 106.7 FM The Fan; SiriusXM® ( Streaming Internet 869)
Line-ups subject to change without notice: