The Washington Nationals come into this mid-point game in the season with a 40-40 record. Considering where this team began, you would have taken this a month ago when the Nats were 9-games under .500. Now they have to hover near or above the .500 mark to stay in contention and get healthy.
The baseball gods struck a mighty blow to the Nats this week with more injuries that are piling up like a MASH unit, and the normal depth moves from the minor league level is of little help with injuries to the team’s top two infielders, Luis Garcia and Carter Kieboom. The outfield depth is thin. It was in the off-season when the Nats signed Kyle Schwarber to ostensibly replace Adam Eaton. But nobody was signed to replace righty Michael Taylor as a 4th outfielder. Now you can see how the offseason non-moves have impacted where the team is today.
Speaking of depth, the Nats 9th pitcher on the Opening Day depth chart has been in the starting rotation for a while now with injuries to Stephen Strasburg and the team’s offseason presumptive 6th starter, Erick Fedde. Today is just another game that Espino enters as the underdog. No pressure, the starting pitcher on the other team is a guy named Clayton Kershaw, a first ballot future Hall-of-Famer.
With the Dodger’s lefty starting, will Ryan Zimmerman go a second game in a row at first base? Will it be Josh Harrison in leftfield today in place of the injured Kyle Schwarber? Who starts at shortstop and second base?
There are so many question marks as the team will add a player to the roster in place of the injured Schwarber, and as we tweeted we are expecting multiple moves including Alcides Escobar. It might be time to get the bench back to five players to give manager Dave Martinez more options, but due to the injuries in depth as mentioned with Garcia and Kieboom, the Nats are in a unenviable situation.
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Washington Nationals
Stadium: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
1st Pitch: 7:15 pm EDT
TV: FOX, MLB.TV
Nats Radio: 106.7 FM The Fan; SiriusXM® ( Streaming Internet 869)
Line-ups subject to change without notice:
1. Josh Harrison 2B
2. Juan Soto RF
3. Ryan Zimmerman 1B
4. Starlin Castro 3B
5. Yan Gomes C
6. Gerardo Parra LF
7. Alcides Escobar SS
8. Victor Robles CF
9. Paolo Espino RHP