The Washington Nationals had a need for a starter for today even before Chad Kuhl was placed on the 15-day IL. Friday’s rainout changed everything in the rotation, and the Nats’ braintrust had several options until they started Paolo Espino for Triple-A Rochester on Saturday, then used Cory Abbott in two innings of relief on Monday night, and Joan Adon in Rochester last night, making it apparent that it was going to be Jake Irvin. Some thought it could have been Jackson Rutledge from Double-A Harrisburg or just a bullpen start. Now, it is Irvin with a golden opportunity as the Nats do need a fifth starter to go five days from now. If you remember, Abbott was called up to replace Kuhl on the roster, and he seemed to be the presumptive starter…until he was used in relief for those two innings.
If you want to read up on Irvin, check out this piece on him from last night that details his career and into the 2018 draft with the Nats, his relationship with Oklahoma teammate Cade Cavalli, and Irvin’s own UCL tear leading up to Tommy John surgery and missing the entire 2021 season. We got to see Irvin in Spring Training this year, and he impressed in short stints although his fastball and breaking pitch repertoire felt like he was a better fit for the bullpen. Well, the Nats’ braintrust chose him, so we will see what he has tonight.
There was another roster move today when the team activated infielder Ildemaro Vargas from the 10-day injured list for a left shoulder sprain suffered on a diving play in the infield. The corresponding move to make room for Vargas was to send Jeter Downs back to Rochester along with Abbott who left to due to Irvin’s start today.
The Nats starters ERAs are a combined 4.69, and Williams had a chance to improve his ERA last night, and he leapfrogged over MacKenzie Gore to the two spot in team ERA for the starters. If you go by FanGraphs WAR, Gore is the best on the team.
Here is how they rank:
This four-game series is knotted up 1-1, and the Cubs have a familiar pitcher on the mound in Marcus Stroman. The series is scheduled to conclude tomorrow with a 1:05 pm afternoon game on getaway day for both teams. After Thursday’s game, the Nats have to fly back west for a weekend series with the Arizona Diamondbacks, and then a 3-game series in San Francisco before the team can head back to D.C. and enjoy a scheduled day-off on May 11.
Here is your Baseball Savant Statcast link for the game.
Chicago Cubs vs. Washington Nationals
Stadium: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
1st Pitch: 7:05 pm EDT
Radio: 106.7 The Fan radio and via the MLB app
Line-up subject to change (without notice):