Victor Robles is out of the Nationals' lineup for today’s series finale against the Cardinals after his left hamstring cramped during the eighth inning of Saturday night’s 7-6 victory.
Robles hurt himself tracking down Brendan Donovan’s deep flyball to center field for the final out of the top of the eighth, a key play that maintained the Nats’ one-run lead after St. Louis loaded the bases earlier in the inning.
Due up third in the bottom of that inning, Robles was late to get to the plate and then quickly struck out, not looking comfortable in the process. Manager Davey Martinez then decided to remove him from the game, shifting Lane Thomas to center field and inserting utilityman Ehire Adrianza in left field for the top of the ninth.
“He’s OK,” Martinez said. “When I had to take him out of the game yesterday, I figured I’d give him a day (off) today. When he cramps up like that, it knots up pretty good. I talked to him last night and told him: ‘I’m just going to give you a day and get that right.’ ”
It was an eventful game for Robles, who hit his fourth homer of the season (his second in a week), made a diving catch in deep left-center field and also made an ill-advised throw only moments before he was injured.
In the aforementioned bases-loaded, one-out jam in the eighth, Robles caught a routine flyball to medium-deep center field by Paul DeJong, then attempted to throw Paul Goldschmidt out at the plate despite virtually no chance of making the play in time. In doing so, he allowed both trailing runners (representing the tying and go-ahead runs) to advance to second and third, irking his manager.
“He needs to throw that ball to third base,” Martinez said. “He knows he’s got to throw that ball to third base.”
* The Nationals have formally listed Patrick Corbin, Cory Abbott and Aníbal Sánchez as their starters for this week’s series against the Mets, creating what looks (at least on paper) like a massive mismatch.
The Mets are set to counter with Max Scherzer in Monday’s series opener, Jacob deGrom (coming off the injured list to make his long-awaited season debut) on Tuesday and then Chris Bassitt in Wednesday afternoon’s finale.
Abbott gets the nod as the rotation replacement for Erick Fedde, who was placed on the 15-day IL on Saturday with right shoulder inflammation. The 26-year-old, who has made two relief appearances for the Nationals this season, was 0-4 with a 5.08 ERA in 10 games (six starts) for Triple-A Rochester.
Martinez had said Abbott was available out of the bullpen Saturday night if needed, but that if he wasn’t used he’d start Tuesday against New York.
“He’s actually done well the little stint he’s been here,” the manager said. “And after talking to (the Rochester coaching staff), he’s been throwing the ball well. We thought we’d bring him up.”