Game 5 lineups: Nats vs. Rays

The Nationals have scored nine runs in four games so far this season, which obviously is not good. In their defense, they’ve faced some pretty tough pitching, from the Braves’ Max Fried and Spencer Strider to the Rays’ Drew Rasmussen. The one opposing starter they had some success against was Atlanta rookie left-hander Jared Shuster. There’s a chance for success tonight against Tampa Bay lefty Josh Fleming.

Fleming, 26, owns a 4.93 ERA and 1.410 WHIP over 171 2/3 career major league innings, and he really struggled last year (6.43 ERA, 1.886 WHIP in only 35 innings) while shuttling back and forth between St. Petersburg and Durham. Knowing the way Kevin Cash manages his bullpen, don’t be surprised if the leash on Fleming is short. If you’re the Nats, look to be aggressive early as they were against Shuster on Sunday and try to take an early lead.

If they can do that, they’ll provide some breathing room for Chad Kuhl, who makes his season debut tonight as the No. 5 starter in place of the injured Cade Cavalli. Kuhl actually becomes the third straight starter to make his Nationals debut, following MacKenzie Gore and Trevor Williams. It’s only the second time that’s ever happened in club history, and to be honest, the first time shouldn’t really count because it was the first four games in club history, with Liván Hernández, Zach Day, Esteban Loaiza and Tomo Ohka taking the ball from Frank Robinson in April 2005. Thing is, all of those guys except for Loaiza had been part of the 2004 Expos’ roster, so it’s not really like they were all joining a new team.

Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
Radio: 106.7 FM,
Weather: Clear, 76 degrees, wind 8 mph out to left field

RF Lane Thomas
DH Joey Meneses
3B Jeimer Candelario
1B Dominic Smith
LF Alex Call
2B Michael Chavis
C Riley Adams
CF Victor Robles
SS CJ Abrams

RHP Chad Kuhl

1B Yandy Díaz
2B Brandon Lowe
LF Randy Arozarena
SS Wander Franco
RF Luke Raley
DH Josh Lowe
C Christian Bethancourt
3B Taylor Walls
CF Jose Siri

LHP Josh Fleming

Chavis, Adams get first chance to play
Thomas staying aggressive at the plate and in the ...

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