Game 112 lineups: Nats at Cubs

hernandez cesar bunt @ TEX blue

CHICAGO – It’s a beautiful day in the Windy City, with a nice breeze blowing in off Lake Michigan and barely a cloud in the sky. Maybe good weather will inspire the Nationals to play better and end their six-game losing streak.

OK, the weather probably has nothing to do with how they play tonight. What they really need is to score some runs, preferably early, and give their pitching staff a chance to pitch with a rare lead. Davey Martinez is trying a different look in his lineup, with Luis García batting leadoff, Luke Voit batting second and Nelson Cruz in the No. 3 spot. Victor Robles, who struggled Monday night, is out. So is Maikel Franco, who also struggled in the 6-3 loss.

Paolo Espino makes the start, still seeking his first win of the season. The veteran right-hander has got to keep the ball in the yard, and he’s got to find a way to get hitters out a second time through the lineup. As tempting as it might be for Martinez to go to his bullpen early, he really can’t afford to do it unless absolutely necessary, given how much that group has worked in recent weeks.

Speaking of the bullpen, the Nationals are going to have a new pitcher soon: Jake McGee. They claimed the veteran left-hander off waivers today from the Brewers, who designated him for assignment earlier in the week. McGee has had a rough season in San Francisco and Milwaukee, but he’s got a strong track record. And the Nats have been looking for a lefty reliever for some time, so once he arrives he could be a welcome addition.

To clear space on the organizational 40-man roster for McGee, the Nationals designated Triple-A outfielder Donovan Casey for assignment. Casey, you’ll remember, was one of the four players they acquired from the Dodgers last summer in the Max Scherzer-Trea Turner blockbuster. He was far from the key prospect in the whole deal, but it’s still not a great look that he was DFA’d only one year in.

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Nats may need to make decisions on struggling vets

victor robles hi five blue

CHICAGO – Maybe it’s a fruitless exercise to break down specific at-bats in the 111th game of a season that has long since lost its significance. But there was one particular sequence during the Nationals’ 6-3 loss to the Cubs on Monday night that underscored much of what is wrong with this lineup.

Trailing 3-0 in the top of the fifth, the Nats gave themselves a chance to do something with two on and nobody out. And then proceeded to squander it before anyone had the opportunity to hope it might turn into something big.

It began with Maikel Franco getting a 3-2 fastball from Cubs starter Keegan Thompson on the inner half of the plate, thigh-high, and grounding into a 6-4-3 double play. And it ended immediately with a three-pitch strikeout by Victor Robles, who saw only one pitch in the at-bat that might have been called a strike had he taken it.

“We chased,” manager Davey Martinez lamented. “We chased a few times with guys on base. Franco’s got to get the ball up in certain situations, try to keep the ball off the ground there. … With guys on base, we’ve got to do a better job trying to get the ball in the strike zone, get the ball up and try to drive the ball.”

This, of course, was nothing new. It’s been a recurring theme all season for a Nationals lineup that leads the majors with 106 double plays grounded into while ranking 25th out of 30 teams with a .676 OPS with runners in scoring position.

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Slight pitching improvement, but still no win for Nats (updated)

sanchez gray

CHICAGO – At this point, the Nationals will gladly take the bare minimum that could be considered a decent performance from a member of their rotation: five innings and a chance at a win. They hadn’t come close to getting such an outing over the last five days, and they’ve barely received any that meet that low standard over the last month.

So when Aníbal Sánchez managed tonight to not only complete five innings allowing only three runs, but then take the mound for the sixth as well, it felt like something of a step in the right direction for the Nats.

Not a step in a winning direction, mind you. But at least a step forward instead of backward.

It made no difference in the end, because Sánchez was charged with another run in the sixth, the bullpen gave up two more in the seventh and the lineup managed nothing but Luke Voit’s solo homer in the sixth and Joey Meneses’ two-run homer in the eighth during a 6-3 loss to the Cubs that wasn’t as close as the final score suggests.

Thus did the Nationals drop their sixth straight, falling to a major-league-worst 36-75. With the season more than two-thirds complete, they’re now on pace to lose 110 games.

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Starters' woes leave Nats facing some big questions

davey red dugout

CHICAGO – There’s plenty for Davey Martinez to be concerned about these days, amid a five-game losing streak that has seen his Nationals get blown out multiple times, all while fielding a roster that looks nothing like the one he was used to only a year ago.

But nothing stands out more to Martinez right now, and rightfully so, than a rotation that hasn’t come close to holding its own during this stretch.

Entering tonight’s series opener against the Cubs, Nationals starters have averaged a scant 3.3 innings over the last five games. They haven’t had anybody complete five innings since Cory Abbott tossed five scoreless frames Aug. 2 against the Mets, hours after Juan Soto and Josh Bell were traded to the Padres.

The domino effect on the bullpen has been dramatic, with several relievers unavailable on a given night because they pitched too much the previous one.

“It’s been tough,” Martinez said. “Trying to space these guys out, trying not to use them too much. Keeping guys fresh as much as we can. Hopefully today, Aníbal’s pitching and he can give us a good 5-6 innings and then we can go from there.”

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Game 111 lineups: Nats at Cubs

sanchez blue

CHICAGO – There’s no kind way to put this: The Nationals are in an awful state right now. This season already was bad before the trade deadline, and it’s only gotten worse since (which, considering who they dealt away, isn’t shocking at all). There was that one inspiring win over the Mets on deadline day, but there have been five straight losses since. In four of those games, they’ve trailed by at least six runs at some point. In three of those, they’ve trailed by at least nine runs at some point.

There’s not a whole lot of reason to be optimistic about what’s still to come over the season’s final 52 games, but maybe the Nats are due to catch a little bit of a break the next three weeks when they face a Cubs team that owns the second-worst record in the National League. If the Nationals can’t give themselves a chance to win two of three here at Wrigley Field, what hope is there?

It’s going to have to start with starting pitching, because the current rotation keeps digging this team into holes it can’t climb out of. And Aníbal Sánchez has been as guilty of that as anybody. The 38-year-old has made four starts to date and is 0-4 with a 7.65 ERA. He’s reached the sixth inning only once, and in that game he still gave up six runs. The home run has been a real problem for Sánchez (six allowed in only 20 innings), but with the wind blowing in from left field tonight, maybe that helps him a bit.

The Nationals lineup faces right-hander Keegan Thompson in the series opener, and he’s been something of a bright spot for the Cubs, entering with an 8-5 record and 3.48 ERA. He has been roughed up in two of his last three starts, though.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at CHICAGO CUBS
Where:
Wrigley Field
Gametime: 8:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, MLB.com
Weather: Cloudy, 71 degrees, wind 16 mph in from left field

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Voit, Gore to join Nats in Philly, Abrams reporting to Rochester

luke voit

Three of the six players the Nationals acquired from the Padres this week, all of them age 18-20, won’t be sniffing the major leagues for some time. The other three, though, are poised to join the club before season’s end, one of them as soon as tonight.

Luke Voit, the lone veteran to be included in the blockbuster deal that sent Juan Soto and Josh Bell to San Diego, is scheduled to meet the team in Philadelphia and will probably be in the lineup for tonight’s series opener against the Phillies.

The 31-year-old will see time both at first base and designated hitter the rest of the way, according to manager Davey Martinez. Though he had pedestrian numbers this season with the Padres (a .225/.317/.416 slash line with 13 homers and 48 RBIs in 344 plate appearances), Voit’s .733 OPS is as good as anyone currently in the Nats lineup.

Over parts of six big league seasons with the Cardinals, Yankees and Padres, Voit owns a strong .838 OPS and 86 homers. He led the American League with 22 homers and finished ninth in MVP voting during the condensed 2020 season.

And because he’s under club control through 2024 (same as Soto), Voit could figure into the Nationals’ plans beyond this year.

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Depleted Nationals fall short to Mets, release Escobar (updated)

sanchez fires white

For 2 hours, 48 minutes Tuesday night, a severely depleted Nationals lineup rode youthful emotion (and an excellent performance from its pitching staff) to a most unlikely victory over the first-place Mets. An otherwise depressing day during a depressing season at least included this uplifting note on the field.

Then reality set back in this afternoon. That same lineup was shut out by Mets starter Chris Bassitt, while Aníbal Sánchez, Jordan Weems and the pitching staff was roughed by New York’s potent lineup during a 9-5 thrashing in the finale of their three-game series that only seemed close because of a furious, five-run rally in the bottom of the ninth.

As this all played out, Juan Soto and Josh Bell were being introduced as the newest members of the Padres during a press conference at Petco Park, inserted by manager Bob Melvin into an already fearsome lineup as his new No. 2 and No. 4 hitters.

It was a stark reminder of what transpired back here at Nationals Park one day earlier, and what that means the rest of this season (and perhaps beyond) will look like for the local ballclub.

"Soto and Bell were a big part of the team," Sánchez said. "But at the end, we have to understand that baseball is like that. I think everybody is ready to play every single day. Everything happened one day. I think the next day, everybody ... it's not about forgetting, but they're ready to play."

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Rainey has Tommy John surgery, out 12-18 months

rainey delivers white

Tanner Rainey underwent Tommy John surgery today, officially ending his 2022 season and knocking out the Nationals reliever for the majority of the 2023 season.

The surgery had been the expected outcome for Rainey since he landed on the 60-day injured list three weeks ago with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, but the club waited a bit to get a second opinion on the diagnosis before scheduling the procedure, which was performed today in Texas by orthopedist Keith Meister.

“It obviously stinks,” manager Davey Martinez said in revealing the news prior to today’s game against the Mets. “It’s frustrating. He understands that he’s got a long road ahead of him, but he wants to get back as soon as possible.”

Rainey figures to spend the entire offseason recovering from the ligament-replacement surgery, then report for spring training to begin a throwing program that eventually should allow him to return to the majors late next season. Typical recovery time for pitchers who have Tommy John surgery is 12 to 18 months. That Rainey is a reliever and doesn’t have to build his arm up the way a starter would could help keep his timeline on the lower end of that spectrum.

The 29-year-old right-hander had been enjoying a fairly effective season as the Nationals closer, producing a 3.30 ERA, 12 saves and 10.8 strikeouts per nine innings in 29 appearances. He did have several notable blown saves along the way, though, giving up game-changing homers on back-to-back days to the Marlins last month.

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Game 106 lineups: Nats vs. Mets

anibal sanchez pitches red

It’s a new day here on South Capitol Street. The sun came up. The grounds crew worked on the field. The Nationals, or what’s left of them, reported for work. There are 56 games still to play this season, and that would’ve been the case whether Juan Soto and Josh Bell were here for them or not.

We got a glimpse Tuesday night of what the team looks like without them, and surprisingly, it wasn’t so bad. Behind strong pitching from Cory Abbott and the bullpen, and home runs from Luis García, Yadiel Hernandez and Joey Meneses, the Nats beat Jacob deGrom and the Mets 5-1. And so they once again have a chance to win a series over a National League contender.

Aníbal Sánchez is going to have to be effective for that to happen, certainly more effective than he has been in three starts to date. Against the Mets lineup, that may be a lot to ask. But if he can just provide five innings and keep his team in the game, the Nationals bullpen has been good enough to finish things off for several weeks now.

The lineup that blasted three homers Tuesday night will try to do something similar today against Chris Bassitt, who doesn’t get as much attention as deGrom and Max Scherzer but is plenty important to New York’s chances this season.

NEW YORK METS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where:
Nationals Park

Gametime: 4:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB Network (outside D.C. and N.Y. markets), MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, MLB.com
Weather: Sunny, 91 degrees, wind 7 mph out to center field

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Road back to success is even bumpier without Soto

soto blue on deck

As he sat down in front of a bank of cameras and recorders and reporters, the likes of which hadn’t been present at Nationals Park in a long time, Mike Rizzo made a statement about his decision to trade Juan Soto and Josh Bell to the Padres for six players, five of them highly rated prospects.

Rizzo made his statement not only through his words, but also through his attire. On this, one of the most significant days of his 13-year tenure as general manager, he wore his 2019 World Series ring on his left hand, not to mention a red polo shirt with the visage of the Commissioner’s Trophy on the chest.

“I wore this ring purposely,” he said. “It shows what we’ve done in the past, and what we’re going to do in the future. In 2019, we had a slogan: ‘Bumpy roads lead to beautiful places.’ We’re on a bumpy road right now, and we believe that coming out of this thing, it’ll be a beautiful place.”

This road may indeed lead to a beautiful place someday, but that day won’t be anytime soon. The path back to winning baseball in D.C. is going to feature all sorts of bumps and potholes and other obstacles, and while Tuesday’s blockbuster trade of Soto to San Diego may produce some nice new paving way down at the end of the journey, it didn’t do anything to smooth over the asphalt sitting right in front of the Nats right now.

To be clear, this is not – and should not – be framed as a good thing for anybody. This isn’t something anyone wanted to do. It’s not something anyone should have wanted the Nationals to do.

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Nationals come to grips with Soto trade

juan soto swinging bat blue

Once word that Juan Soto turned down the Nationals’ 15-year, $440 million extension offer – prompting the club to explore the possibility of trading its 23-year-old superstar – became public 17 days ago, Mike Rizzo began the process of figuring out which other organizations might actually be in a position to make a trade happen.

The Nats general manager realized the list of candidates, essentially clubs that were both in a win-now mode while also having enough elite talent in their farm system, would be short. In recent days, it became clear there were only three serious suitors: the Padres, Cardinals and Dodgers. And by the time trade deadline day arrived, it was clear that if a deal was going to happen, it was going to be with the Padres.

“We had to get the right deal, or we weren’t going to do the deal,” Rizzo said. “We set the bar very, very high, and one team exceeded it and that’s the deal we made. Props to the San Diego Padres. They’re not afraid, and ownership’s not afraid and (general manager) A.J. Preller’s not afraid. They were aggressive, and we made a deal that you call historical. I call it a good deal for both the San Diego Padres and the Washington Nationals at this time in both our franchise’s history.”

It will be some time before anyone can say with certainty if it was a good deal for either franchise. The Padres must now actually win something in October with Soto and Josh Bell added to a roster that already features Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado, Yu Darvish and (just recently) Josh Hader. The Nationals must hope several of the five prospects they acquired today (along with veteran first baseman Luke Voit) become not only big leaguers but cornerstones who ultimately help them win a lot more games than they’re winning these days.

In the minutes and hours that came after today’s blockbuster news was reported, those who remained at Nationals Park were having a tough time thinking that far into the future. They were more concerned with the two cornerstones from the 2022 roster who are no longer here, not to mention wondering if anyone else from the room would be dealt.

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Soto, Bell dealt to Padres for host of players (updated)

soto-and-bell-celebrate--PIT-red

The Nationals finalized a blockbuster deal this afternoon that is sending Juan Soto and Josh Bell to the Padres for six players – both major and minor leaguers – that once completed represented the most dramatic trade deadline transaction in club history, and arguably in baseball history.

The nearly unprecedented package included Soto and Bell going to San Diego for a group of prospects that included two players who made their major league debuts this season (left-hander Mackenzie Gore and shortstop C.J. Abrams), plus three younger, top-rated prospects (right-hander Jarlin Susana, outfielders Robert Hassell and James Wood), as well as veteran first baseman Luke Voit.

Voit was added to the deal after fellow veteran first baseman Eric Hosmer informed the Padres he would not waive his partial no-trade clause to come to the Nationals. Hosmer wound up getting dealt to the Red Sox instead, with Voit now coming to Washington and expected to take over at first base in the coming days.

The deal came roughly six hours before the 6 p.m. trade deadline, but given the complexities and number of people involved, it needed to be agreed upon earlier in the day. General manager Mike Rizzo had been in talks with several other clubs, including the Cardinals and Dodgers, over the last few days but honed in on the Padres as deadline day arrived.

The Soto-Bell blockbuster, as it turns out, was the only trade the Nationals made today. The deadline came and went with no other moves made, per a club source, leaving Nelson Cruz, Kyle Finnegan, Carl Edwards Jr., Steve Cishek, Cesar Hernandez, Maikel Franco and other potential trade candidates on the roster moving forward.

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Soto, Bell and Nats left waiting to see what happens

soto and bell

Davey Martinez submitted a lineup card for Monday night’s game a little after 3 p.m. By that point, the Nationals manager already knew utility man Ehire Adrianza had been traded, with Ildemaro Vargas called up from Triple-A Rochester to take his roster spot. Everything else, as far as he knew, remained the status quo.

Not that Martinez wasn’t acutely aware of the possibility something else could change before first pitch at 7:05 p.m. Any of a number of his regular members from the lineup or bullpen could be dealt away at any moment, so he made sure to consult with bench coach Tim Bogar about all the potential fallback plans should something occur either before, or during, the game against the Mets.

“We’ll see what happens in the next 48 hours,” Martinez said. “But we do have to think about the what-ifs – which I try not to, until it happens – but we’ve got to be prepared.”

By night’s end, there was no need for all that prep work. The Nationals made no more deals on Trade Deadline Eve, withholding everything for the final day, it appears.

If they’re going to part with Juan Soto, Josh Bell, Nelson Cruz, Kyle Finnegan, Carl Edwards Jr., Steve Cishek or anybody else, they’re going to have to do it in a hurry, with the deadline approaching at 6 p.m. Eastern.

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Nats send Adrianza to Braves for minor league outfielder

Ehire Adrianza throw gray

The Nationals made the first of what should be multiple trades over the next two days, sending utility man Ehire Adrianza to the Braves for minor league outfielder Trey Harris.

Adrianza was hardly the highest-profile player the Nats have made available leading into Tuesday night's trade deadline, but the 32-year-old did have some value for his ability to play a host of positions well. And the fact he had been getting more regular starts since the All-Star break, most often at third base, suggested the club was trying to showcase him for any interested clubs.

The Braves wound up acquiring him, bringing Adrianza back one year after he was a member of their bench during their World Series run. He was batting only .179 with two doubles, seven RBIs and one stolen base in 31 games this season, his debut significantly delayed by a quadriceps strain suffered during the final week of spring training.

Harris isn't regarded as a top prospect, but the 26-year-old was the winner of Atlanta's 2019 Hank Aaron Award, presented annually to the organization's top minor league offensive player. A right-handed batter, he was hitting .238 with eight doubles, one triple, two homers, 16 RBIs and four stolen bases in 59 games for Double-A Mississippi this season.

Harris originally was the Braves' 32nd-round draft pick in 2018 out of the University of Missouri.

Time has arrived for Nats to make major decision

juan soto gray

It’s been 16 days now, 16 long days, since the first report emerged of Juan Soto declining a 15-year, $440 million extension, prompting the Nationals to “entertain” the possibility of trading their star right fielder.

Everyone has been put through the ringer ever since. Soto, who can’t make it through a single day without somebody bombarding him with questions about his uncertain future. The Nats, who have attempted to walk the tightrope between seeking out legitimate trade offers while simultaneously stressing they still prefer Soto stays in D.C. for the long term. Local and national media members, who spend every waking minute trying to decipher whatever clues are out there about the team’s intentions. And, of course, fans who experienced the full range of emotions and are now bracing for whatever outcome is on the horizon.

An outcome that is now nearly ready to reveal itself.

At some point in the next 34 hours, the Nationals are either going to trade Soto to a contending club for perhaps the best prospects haul in baseball history, or they’re going to let Tuesday’s 6 p.m. trade deadline pass without making the move and allow this issue to be resolved at some later date.

Everyone has an opinion. Everyone has a prediction for how this will play out. But the man in the middle of it all just wants to know, once and for all, whose uniform he’s going to be wearing the rest of the season.

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Nats shut out by Cards to end month of misery (updated)

josiah gray pitches red

With a chance to win a second consecutive series over a National League contender, the Nationals instead today did what they’ve done so many times over the last four months. They dug themselves into a hole with shaky defense and a penchant for giving up a big home run. And they did next-to-nothing offensively to give themselves a chance at coming back from that deficit.

So it was the Nats went down quietly to the Cardinals this afternoon, losing 5-0 in the rubber game of the weekend series and ending a miserable July on another uninspired note.

Fortunately, Saturday night’s dramatic win ensured this would not be the worst month in club history. Even with today’s loss, the Nationals finished July with a 6-19 record for a .240 winning percentage, narrowly besting July 2008 (.208) and April 2009 (.238) as the lowest points this franchise has experienced since arriving in town.

Now, though, the calendar shifts to August, and there is legitimate reason to worry the two months that remain this season could rival the just-completed one in terms of misery.

The next 48 hours will help determine that fate, as general manager Mike Rizzo decides who from his current 26-man roster to deal and who to retain before Tuesday’s 6 p.m. trade deadline. Given how many potential moves are on the table, Rizzo may not have the luxury of waiting until Tuesday to start the process.

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Robles sits with hamstring cramp, rotation set for Mets series

victor robles swings white

Victor Robles is out of the Nationals' lineup for today’s series finale against the Cardinals after his left hamstring cramped during the eighth inning of Saturday night’s 7-6 victory.

Robles hurt himself tracking down Brendan Donovan’s deep flyball to center field for the final out of the top of the eighth, a key play that maintained the Nats’ one-run lead after St. Louis loaded the bases earlier in the inning.

Due up third in the bottom of that inning, Robles was late to get to the plate and then quickly struck out, not looking comfortable in the process. Manager Davey Martinez then decided to remove him from the game, shifting Lane Thomas to center field and inserting utilityman Ehire Adrianza in left field for the top of the ninth.

“He’s OK,” Martinez said. “When I had to take him out of the game yesterday, I figured I’d give him a day (off) today. When he cramps up like that, it knots up pretty good. I talked to him last night and told him: ‘I’m just going to give you a day and get that right.’ ”

It was an eventful game for Robles, who hit his fourth homer of the season (his second in a week), made a diving catch in deep left-center field and also made an ill-advised throw only moments before he was injured.

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Game 103 lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals

josiah gray pitches white

For all the issues that surround them – and there are plenty – there is also this fact about the Nationals: They’ve won four of their last six, and this afternoon they have an opportunity to win their second straight series over a bona fide contender. Yes, after winning two straight at Dodger Stadium to begin the week, they’ve now split the first two games of the weekend series against the Cardinals and will go for another curly W today.

It’s Josiah Gray on the mound, bumped up a day because of Erick Fedde’s injury but still on full rest. In his last start at Dodger Stadium, Gray gave up a leadoff homer to Mookie Betts, then cruised through the fourth before giving up a leadoff homer to Cody Bellinger during what became a two-run fifth. This will be his first start against the Cardinals.

The Nationals lineup is without Victor Robles, whose left hamstring cramped after making his last catch in the top of the eighth Saturday night. That’s why he was slow to get to the plate in the bottom of the eighth, why he looked so out of sorts during that at-bat and why Davey Martinez pulled him from the game for the top of the ninth.

ST LOUIS CARDINALS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where:
Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:35 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, MLB.com
Weather: Rain arriving, 86 degrees, wind 8 mph out to left field

NATIONALS
CF Lane Thomas
2B Cesar Hernandez
RF Juan Soto
1B Josh Bell
DH Nelson Cruz
LF Yadiel Hernandez
SS Luis Garcia
3B Ehire Adrianza
C Tres Barrera

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Bell's late blast lifts Nats over Cards (updated)

bell celebrates hr cherry

An inordinate amount of the Nationals’ offensive production this season has come via the bats (and the eyes) of Juan Soto and Josh Bell. Together, those two have accounted for 23 percent of the team’s hits, 28 percent of their runs, 42 percent of their walks and 43 percent of their homers.

So, imagine what this lineup would look like in August and September should Soto and Bell no longer be wearing curly W helmets at the plate. Actually, don’t imagine it. It’s too depressing.

Instead, just appreciate whatever time remains with these two larger-than-life sluggers batting back-to-back in Davey Martinez’s lineup. Just as a boisterous crowd of 34,440 did tonight as Soto and Bell helped lead the Nationals to a 7-6, come-from-behind win over the Cardinals.

Soto did his usual thing, reaching base four times (thrice via walks, once via single). And Bell did the thing he’s done regularly in his 1 1/2 years in D.C.: Deliver a big hit in a big moment, belting a three-run homer in the bottom of the seventh to give his team the lead and elicit a roar from the crowd.

"Awesome. And well-deserved," Martinez said. "I'm not going to think about what's going to happen in the next few days. I just know that today was a great win for us, and he was a big part of it."

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Fedde goes on IL, Abbott could take rotation spot

fedde throw back white

The Nationals placed Erick Fedde on the 15-day injured list with right shoulder inflammation this afternoon, creating a ripple effect on the rest of their rotation as Tuesday’s trade deadline approaches.

Fedde, who was supposed to start tonight against the Cardinals, instead went on the IL (retroactive to July 27) after complaining of a sore shoulder following his last start, though he doesn’t believe the issue is serious enough to sideline him for long.

Paolo Espino, originally listed as Sunday’s starter, will pitch tonight instead, though he remains on full rest because of Thursday’s off-day for the team. Josiah Gray and Patrick Corbin also are having their starts bumped up a day, with Gray now slated to pitch Sunday’s series finale against the Cardinals and Corbin going Monday against the Mets.

That leaves a rotation hole for Tuesday, with a starter needed to face the Mets. Manager Davey Martinez said that assignment will go to Cory Abbott, who was recalled from Triple-A Rochester today, provided the right-hander isn’t needed out of the bullpen tonight.

The injury to Fedde (who is 5-7 with a 4.95 ERA in 19 starts) comes after he threw 99 pitches in only 4 2/3 innings Sunday at Arizona, after which he experienced shoulder soreness.

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