Nats have questions that need to be answered today

In a season that's already featured more than a fair share of bad days, Monday was about as bad as it gets for the Nationals. Between injuries to star players, a rain delay, altered pitching plans and a 9-5 loss to the Braves, nothing went right for the club.

And now the Nats have to pick up the pieces from all that and take the field against the red-hot Braves again tonight, with the rest of this 11-games-in-10-days homestand still looming.

Here’s a rundown of what needs to be sorted out before today is over …

* How’s Stephen Strasburg?
Davey Martinez didn’t want to offer up any update on Strasburg late Monday night: “We’ll talk about Stephen tomorrow, if that’s OK,” the manager said. “I’ll know a lot more tomorrow about Stephen.”

Chances are, Martinez already knew something about the results of the MRI performed on Strasburg earlier in the day. But given all the other fires he was trying to put out after a game that nearly ended at midnight, he didn’t want to go into any more detail yet.

So perhaps we’ll find out what precisely is going on with Strasburg today. Even in a best-case scenario, it would seem he’s going to be shut down for a period of time and then slowly ramp things up again. Martinez already said Monday afternoon the right-hander would be going back on the injured list, so the team knew it was serious enough for that.

Stay tuned, and hold your breath until we have a real answer.

* How’s Juan Soto?
As if everything else that happened Monday wasn’t bad enough, the game ended with Ehire Adrianza pinch-hitting for Juan Soto in the bottom of the ninth. That’s because Soto slipped in the dugout the previous inning and banged his right knee on the corner of the bench.

Soto was pretty clearly hobbled when he took the field in the top of the ninth, but he remained out there until the third out was recorded and he could gingerly make his way back to the dugout. With his spot in the lineup coming up, he was removed in favor of Adrianza.

“He got pretty sore, so to be safe I took him out,” Martinez said. “We’ll see how he feels tomorrow. He did it before the inning. He said he could go out there, but he was limping pretty good when he went out to the field. He came back and he said he started to get really sore, so ... I said I don’t want to chance it, so we’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”

Obviously any injury to Soto is bad news for the Nationals. They’ll have to hope this was a minor, freak accident and that he’ll be ready to return the lineup Tuesday.

* Who’s starting tonight?
Jackson Tetreault will make his major league debut. Why? Because Josiah Gray, after throwing 37 warm-up pitches in the bullpen before the rain arrived Monday, will need a couple days to recover before finally making his start. And because everyone else in the organization wasn’t on the proper schedule.

Triple-A starters Cade Cavalli, Cole Henry and Joan Adon all pitched too recently to make a big league start tonight. Big league swingmen Paolo Espino and Evan Lee threw too much Sunday to be ready to come back this soon.

So it’s Tetreault, who last started for Rochester on Thursday and was scheduled to start for the Red Wings again tonight. Instead, the 26-year-old right-hander is getting promoted to the big leagues to make his debut against a dangerous Braves lineup.

Tetreault’s arrival will require not only Strasburg going on the IL but somebody coming off the 40-man roster. That could either be a minor leaguer getting designated for assignment or someone already on the 10-day IL being transferred to the 60-day IL, such as reliever Hunter Harvey.

* Do more roster moves need to be made?
Probably, because the Nationals pitching staff is beat up right now. On Sunday, Espino threw 53 pitches, Lee threw 41, Andres Machado threw 35 and Carl Edwards Jr. threw 20. Then on Monday, Erasmo Ramírez threw 54 pitches, followed by Steve Cishek (29), Jordan Weems (45), Kyle Finnegan (18) and Tanner Rainey (24).

With Tetreault making his major league debut and no way of knowing how deep in the game he can reasonably be expected to pitch, the Nats need as many other fresh arms as they can get. Potential call-ups include lefties Sam Clay and Francisco Perez.

Weems could be the likeliest candidate for demotion, given both his recent workload and his performance struggles (9.95 ERA in six games).

Game 64 lineups: Nats vs. Braves
Gray scratched after rain delay, Nats lose to Brav...

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to