The Nationals have a chance today for their first four-game sweep of the season as they battle the Pittsburgh Pirates in the series finale. With a win, the Nats get back to the .500 mark for the first time since April 20.
Manager Davey Martinez believes they have found something with their new lineup. Bryce Harper will stay in the leadoff spot, with Matt Adams in the No. 3 hole. Ryan Zimmerman and Matt Wieters return to the lineup after a day off.
Wilmer Difo has done a very nice job in the No. 9 spot, contributing a fielder's choice RBI in Wednesday's 9-3 win. Howie Kendrick is contributing, he had three hits and two runs scored. Andrew Stevenson added an RBI single and a run scored. The Nats did a nice job of adding runs throughout the game, an element of their offense they had not been able to take advantage of early on in the season.
On Thursday the Nats scored in five separate innings. Wednesday, they tallied in four different innings, including a six-run outburst on the sixth inning.
"They're moving the ball," said Martinez. "We talk about that all the time. We preach that every day. They're starting to stay in the middle of the field in big moments. When they start doing that, things happen. We've got guys that can run, too.
"So, a guy on third base, ground ball first and third, Bryce beat out a double play ball. Difo beat out a double play ball. Those are runs, and those are important. I'm glad to see they're starting to move the ball."
The offense will look to support right-hander Jeremy Hellickson as he seeks his first win as a Nationals pitcher in his fourth start.
Hellickson is 3-1 with a 2.86 ERA in 28 1/3 innings against the Pirates in his career.
He is opposed by right-hander Trevor Williams (3-1, 2.15), his first outing against the Nationals since relief appearance in 2016.
PITTSBURGH PIRATES at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, MLB.com, SiriusXM 183 (Internet 869)
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 86 degrees, wind 12 mph in from right field
RF Bryce Harper
SS Trea Turner
LF Matt Adams
1B Ryan Zimmerman
2B Howie Kendrick
CF Michael A. Taylor
C Matt Wieters
RHP Jeremy Hellickson
3B Wilmer Difo
2B Adam Frazier
RF Gregory Polanco
CF Starling Marte
1B David Freese
LF Corey Dickerson
C Elias Diaz
3B Colin Moran
SS Sean Rodriguez
RHP Trevor Williams