Game 78 lineups: Nats vs. Pirates

The turnaround of the Nationals rotation over the last week-plus has been nothing short of remarkable. Over their last nine games, starters have delivered a 1.66 ERA, allowing only 10 total earned runs over 54 1/3 innings. Nobody has been charged with more than three earned runs in a start since Joan Adon in the opener of the June 17 doubleheader against the Phillies, a full 12 days ago.

So it’s up to Paolo Espino to keep the ball rolling today and potentially lead the Nats to a three-game sweep of the Pirates. Espino has been quite good since his move from low-leverage reliever to No. 4 starter, allowing three earned runs on nine hits over 10 1/3 innings. He’s yet to complete six innings in a game, and he’d love to get that far today if he can keep his pitch count down.

The Nationals would also love to get a clutch hit or two prior to the bottom of the eighth. That strategy, though it has worked the last two nights, probably isn’t sustainable over the long haul. So perhaps some early offense against Pirates right-hander Mitch Keller would help today and take some pressure off Espino.

PITTSBURGH PIRATES vs. WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where:
Nationals Park

Gametime: 1:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, MLB.com
Weather: Sunny, 83 degrees, wind 9 mph out to left field

NATIONALS
2B César Hernández
RF Juan Soto
1B Josh Bell
DH Nelson Cruz
SS Luis García
C Keibert Ruiz
LF Yadiel Hernandez
3B Ehire Adrianza
CF Victor Robles

RHP Paolo Espino

PIRATES
3B Ke'Bryan Hayes
CF Bryan Reynolds
RF Bligh Madris
DH Daniel Vogelbach
1B Josh VanMeter
SS Oneil Cruz
LF Jack Suwinski
C Michael Perez
2B Hoy Park

RHP Mitch Keller

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