Game #84 The James Wood debut mirrors Juan Soto’s first start!

The Washington Nationals have James Wood batting 6th and playing left field in the lineup tonight for his MLB debut. In 2018, manager Dave Martinez penciled in Juan Soto into left field and batting 6th for his first MLB start. Soto faced a lefty starter just like Wood will in this Monday night game just like Soto went through on his Monday night first start.

In Soto’s first at-bat, he took the lefty, Robbie Erlin, deep in an oppo shot as most of you remember. Soto finished 2-4 with the home run and three RBIs and a star was born. Let Wood be James Wood and put good swings on the ball and see what happens tonight. Of course we hope this is a déjà vu moment by two players who will always be intertwined.

As you know, Wood was a key piece in the return from the Soto trade in 2022 along with MacKenzie Gore who is tonight’s starting pitcher, and CJ Abrams the starting shortstop tonight.

To make room for Wood on the roster, the Nationals DFA’d outfielder Eddie Rosario who will finish his tenure with an horrific .555 OPS. This was not a surprise move at all. You have to believe the Nationals tried to trade Rosario — but with that OPS and his defensive issues, his next team might only sign him to a minor league deal.

The Nationals are slight betting underdogs this evening, and both teams are under -100 to win on the moneyline. The Vegas lines will move to where the most money is coming in, and this looks to be the bet of the day getting split almost evenly.

By the way, there are no more days-off going forward until the All-Star break, and this is another 17-games in a row marathon that the Nats just started on Friday. If there are no rain-outs affecting games, the team is set to play 97-games before the All-Star break, and that would leave just 65-games after the All-Star break.

Manager Dave Martinez in yesterday’s blowout didn’t have to use Kyle Finnegan and Hunter Harvey. Derek Law and Jacob Barnes got a day-off. It was Jordan Weems and Tanner Rainey who closed out yesterday’s game.

The starting rotation picture with Josiah Gray got murky yesterday after he got destroyed in a Triple-A start in only 3.0 innings while giving up a pair of 3-run homers and 7 earnies. On top of that, his 4-seam fastball was down over 2 mph versus his season average, and he didn’t have good movement on his pitches. If this was a “dead arm” start, then maybe we have an answer because otherwise this is extremely concerning.

Here is what the rotation could look like:

  1. Monday: MacKenzie Gore vs. Mets
  2. Tuesday: DJ Herz vs. Mets
  3. Wednesday: Mitchell Parker vs. Mets
  4. Thursday: Jake Irvin vs. Mets – July 4
  5. Friday: Patrick Corbin vs. Cardinals
  6. Saturday: Gore vs. Cardinals
  7. Sunday: Herz vs. Cardinals
  8. Monday: Parker vs. Cardinals
  9. Tuesday: Irvin vs. Mets
  10. Wednesday: Corbin vs. Mets
  11. Thursday: Gore vs. Mets
  12. Friday: Herz vs. Brewers
  13. Saturday: Parker vs. Brewers
  14. Sunday: Irvin vs. Brewers

Your top Washington Nationals on the FanGraphs’ WAR leaderboard has the two top pitchers as MacKenzie Gore at +1.9, and Jake Irvin at+1.8 WAR. For the position players, CJ Abrams is at +2.0 and Jacob Young at +1.8. In total, 21 Nats’ players are in positive WAR and another eight are at a neutral 0.0 WAR.

“Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I’m not going to sit here and say, ‘he was disappointing’, because he was a tremendous guy, and I hope there’s another team out there that gives him another shot. It just didn’t work out here for him, but you know his track record. He’s been really good for Atlanta for a lot of years. So I wish him well.”

— manager Dave Martinez on the Rosario DFA

The Nats starting pitchers have a combined ERA of 3.90 and 13th in MLB. The Nats are 17 points from being a Top-10 starting rotation by ERA. Look at those rankings of teams.

Here is how they rank, and if we insert DJ Herz, he would be just ahead of Patrick Corbin at a 5.48 ERA:

No. 5 Starter: Patrick Corbin 5.49
No. 4 Starter: MacKenzie Gore 3.60
No. 3 Starter: Mitchell Parker 3.32
No. 2 Starter: Jake Irvin 3.03
No. 1 Starter: Trevor Williams 2.22

Washington Nationals vs. New York Mets

Stadium: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
1st Pitch: 6:40 pm EDT
Radio: 106.7 The Fan radio and via the MLB app; In Spanish on DC 87.7 FM and La Pantera 100.7 FM/1220 AM. On Sirius/XM, tune to Channel 89 for the home broadcast and the road team is online only.

Line-up subject to change (without notice):

TalkNats is Celebrating the 5 and 100 year anniversaries of World Series Wins by providing Game-by-Game Summaries.

Game 84:
The Nationals won on 07/02 at home against the Marlins resulting in a record of 43-41. They won’t drop below .500 the rest of the season. But you knew this already. Box Score / Standings
The Senators lost on 07/17 at home against the Indians resulting in a record of 47-37.  Box Score / Standings

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