Game 130 lineups: Nats vs. Phillies

If you were going to rank the games of most significance for the Nationals over the remainder of this season, tonight's series opener against the Phillies might rank at the top. That's what you get when you pair Keibert Ruiz's club debut with a Josiah Gray start.

Gray Throws White Sidebar.jpgIt's a nice coincidence - or is it? - that Ruiz's debut coincides with Gray's start. The two biggest names acquired at the trade deadline, both from the Dodgers in the Max Scherzer-Trea Turner blockbuster, have worked together before in the minors. So that familiarity helps. But this will be a whole new ballgame for them, paired up in a big league game and for an organization that is making them the centerpiece of their massive rebuild project.

Ruiz, a switch-hitter with excellent contact skills and emerging power, will bat sixth behind Yadiel Hernandez and ahead of Carter Kieboom. He and his teammates will face a tough challenge in Zack Wheeler, who gets the start for the Phillies.

Gray, meanwhile, is facing Bryce Harper and company for the second time in his career, looking to continue his run of effective starts since debuting with the Nationals. He's now pitched five times and hasn't given up more than three runs in any of them.

To make room for Ruiz on the roster, the Nats optioned Tres Barrera to Triple-A Rochester. That's not a huge surprise, because it has felt like Riley Adams has established himself as the better backup catcher option for now. So Barrera will now go back to catching more regularly in the minors, and helping Cade Cavalli develop.

Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
Radio: 106.7 FM,
Weather: Chance of storms, 83 degrees, wind 7 mph out to center field

CF Lane Thomas
SS Alcides Escobar
RF Juan Soto
1B Josh Bell
LF Yadiel Hernandez
C Keibert Ruiz
3B Carter Kieboom
2B Luis García
RHP Josiah Gray

CF Odúbel Herrera
2B Jean Segura
RF Bryce Harper
LF ANdrew McCutchen
1B Brad Miller
SS Freddy Galvis
3B Ronald Torreys
C Rafael Marchan
RHP Zack Wheeler

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