News broke this afternoon that the Washington Nationals have finally made the difficult decision to demote Victor Robles back to the minors. We had suggested it numerous times, and while a move has been justified for months, there was not a better option on the Nats depth chart until Lane Thomas was acquired. Unfortunately, Robles’ backup at the time, Andrew Stevenson, had worse stats as a starter. When Thomas was activated, Stevenson was sent down, and now Thomas has a clear path to capitalize on this opportunity and keep it — if he can produce.
“I want [Victor] to continue to progress and consistently hit the ball hard. Working good at-bats. Taking his walks. Doing the little things. Bunting when he has to bunt. That’s all part of the process for him,” manager Dave Martinez said. “We need him to get on-base. We need him to drive in balls. We’re not asking him to hit .300 because the way he plays defense. We need his defense out there.
“We’re just asking him to put the ball in play, hit the ball hard consistently, be a good baserunner every day — every time he’s out there, be aggressive but be a good baserunner, and just play the game, and do the little things right.”
We have seen that Thomas has been hitting lefty pitchers, but the jury is out if he can hit right-handed pitchers consistently.
“Since Lane’s been here, he’s done well,” Martinez said. “He’s really worked good at-bats, and he’s hit. He’s taken some good walks so right now he’s earned the right to be out there and play. He’s done well, he’s played real good center field. I want to continue to give him the opportunity.”
With the lefty Matt Moore starting for the Phillies, the Nats’ manager will have the switch-hitting Josh Bell in leftfield and Ryan Zimmerman at first base for tonight’s game. Alcides Escobar will get the night off to rest his left knee after he fouled a ball off of his knee cap yesterday. The good news was that Escobar’s knee had a contusion with nothing broken.
To take Robles’ place on the roster, Stevenson was called up from Triple-A after he was demoted earlier in the month. Two other moves happened after the team placed Kyle Finnegan on the Paternity List, they called up Wander Suero.
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Washington Nationals
Stadium: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
1st Pitch: 7:05 pm EDT
TV: MASN, NBCSports Philly, MLB.TV
Nats Radio: 106.7 FM The Fan; SiriusXM® ( Streaming Internet 869)
Line-ups subject to change without notice:
1. Lane Thomas – CF
2. Carter Kieboom – 3B
3. Juan Soto – RF
4. Josh Bell – LF
5. Ryan Zimmerman – 1B
6. Keibert Ruiz – C
7. Luis García – SS
8. Adrian Sanchez – 2B
9. Patrick Corbin – LHP