Game 42 lineups: Nats at Brewers

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MILWAUKEE – The Nationals have found themselves in this position far too often this season, desperately needing to win a series finale to avoid a sweep. It’s happening today for the fifth time in 13 series to date, the second in a row after they found themselves in the same situation in Miami to begin this road trip. Without a win today here in Milwaukee, they’ll head home 1-5 on the trip and 13-29 overall on the season.

Given how much they’ve struggled to score runs, Davey Martinez has decided to try something different with his lineup. For the first time this season, Juan Soto will bat third instead of second. Rationally, it shouldn’t make any difference. Emotionally, maybe it will feel more comfortable for Soto to hit in his more traditional spot in the lineup, perhaps getting a chance to bat more with more runners on base.

The choice to take over the 2-spot for today is Keibert Ruiz, and that feels warranted given how productive the young catcher has been recently. Ruiz is batting a robust .370/.482/.522 this month, and he’s reached base in eight of his last nine plate appearances. Hopefully, he can keep the same mindset batting higher in the lineup for the first time.

The pressure’s also on Aaron Sanchez to try to contain the Brewers lineup, which scored five runs in five innings off Patrick Corbin Saturday night. Sanchez lasted only 3 2/3 innings in the first game of this road trip, allowing four runs on eight hits and three walks to the Marlins.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at MILWAUKEE BREWERS
Where: American Family Field
Gametime: 2:10 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, MLB.com
Weather: Partly cloudy, 59 degrees, wind 13 mph out to center field

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Rutschman batting fifth today (plus notes)

Rutschman batting fifth today (plus notes)

Adley Rutschman is serving today as the designated hitter and batting fifth in a lineup that the Orioles hope can provide enough runs to give them a series win over the Rays at Camden Yards.

The next eight games are on the road.

Rutschman made his major league debut last night and tripled in the seventh inning.

Trey Mancini is playing right field and Anthony Santander is in left. Austin Hays is out of the lineup.

Ramón Urías is the third baseman.

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Game 41 lineups: Nats at Brewers

corbin pitch @COL gray

MILWAUKEE – If you’re not excited about tonight’s tilt at Not Miller Park Anymore, perhaps the postgame concert will pique your interest: Vanilla Ice, Naughty by Nature and Rob Base. Hey, if the Nationals get shut out again, “Ice Ice Baby” might be an appropriate tune to blast in the clubhouse afterward.

The Nats need to score some runs, in case you haven’t been paying attention. Five times in their last eight games they’ve either been shut out or held to one run. That’s just not going to cut it. The crazy thing is, this lineup has been all-or-nothing so far this season. In their 13 wins to date, the Nationals have scored an average of 7.7 runs. In their 27 losses, they’ve scored an average of 2.1 runs.

The bad news is, they’re facing two-time All-Star Brandon Woodruff tonight. The good news is, Woodruff enters with a 5.35 ERA and 1.336 WHIP. So perhaps he’s more hittable than he’s been in the past. (Either that, or he’s due to dominate for the first time this year.)

Patrick Corbin starts for the Nationals, looking to continue his recent improvements but actually emerge with his first win of the season. The lefty was great for four innings Sunday afternoon against the Astros, then served up three late homers to spoil the start. He’s got to find a way to sustain success, finish strong and give his team a chance.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at MILWAUKEE BREWERS
Where: American Family Field
Gametime: 7:10 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, MLB.com
Weather: Indoors

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Game 40 lineups: Nats at Brewers

Juan Soto homer celebration gray

MILWAUKEE – Hello from the stadium formerly known as Miller Park. It’s now American Family Field, and yes, that’s going to take a while to get used to. The Nationals come to town for a three-game weekend series with the Brewers, hoping for some better results than they experienced during the first half of this trip in Miami, which required some extra-inning drama to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Marlins.

At this point, we kind of know what needs to happen for the Nats to have a realistic shot at winning: They need to hit. Or, more specifically, they need extra-base hits. Though they rank fourth in the National League with a .250 batting average and sixth with a .317 on-base percentage, they’re only ninth in runs scored with 158. Most of that is due to a lack of power; their .360 slugging percentage ranks 11th.

So that’s the challenge tonight against Brewers left-hander Eric Lauer, who enters with a 2.60 ERA and 0.981 WHIP but has allowed a hefty 1.8 homers per nine innings, including three in his last start (against the Marlins). Boy, this would be a good night for Nelson Cruz to get a hold of a pitch on the inner third of the plate, wouldn’t it?

Erick Fedde starts for the Nats, and it’s been some kind of wild ride for him of late. Fedde issued five walks May 8 in Anaheim, yet emerged without allowing a run. He issued three first-inning walks Saturday against the Astros but escaped the jam without any damage before giving up three runs later. Plain and simple, the right-hander needs to have an early feel for more than one of his pitches, keep the ball in the zone and keep his pitch count down against a Milwaukee lineup that’s 10th in the NL in batting average (.233) and on-base percentage (.311) but fourth in runs (179) because … they hit for power (.408 slugging percentage ranks fourth)!

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at MILWAUKEE BREWERS
Where: American Family Field
Gametime: 8:10 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, MLB.com
Weather: Indoors

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Game 39 lineups: Nats at Marlins

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MIAMI – Well, if the Nationals thought the Marlins’ pitching staff was tough to hit over the first two games of this three-game set, it isn’t going to get any easier in tonight’s finale.

Pablo López brings his 4-1 record, 0.814 WHIP and major league-leading 1.05 ERA to the mound as the Marlins look to complete their second sweep of the Nationals this season.

López dominated the Nats in a win back on April 27, shutting them out over six innings of three-hit ball while striking out six. It was one of four scoreless outings for the right-hander already this season.

The Nationals will counter with one of their better starting pitchers in Josiah Gray, who is looking to bounce back from back-to-back rough starts that elevated his ERA from 3.12 for 4.34. He gave up three runs in 5 1/3 innings against the Angels on May 7 and six runs over six innings against the Astros on Friday.

Gray’s issues with the longball have also recently resurfaced. After allowing only three home runs over his first five starts, he’s allowed five over his last two. The Marlins have already hit three homers over the first two games of this series, though they have all been solo shots.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at MIAMI MARLINS
Where: loanDepot Park
Gametime: 6:40 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 The Fan, MLB.com
Weather: Indoors

NATIONALS
2B César Hernández
RF Juan Soto
1B Josh Bell
DH Nelson Cruz
LF Yadiel Hernandez
C Keibert Ruiz
3B Maikel Franco
CF Lane Thomas
SS Alcides Escobar

RHP Josiah Gray

MARLINS
2B Jazz Chisholm Jr.
DH Jesús Aguilar
1B Garrett Cooper
RF Avasaíl García
LF Brian Anderson
CF Jesús Sánchez
C Jacob Stallings
SS Miguel Rojas
3B Erik González

RHP Pablo López

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Game 38 lineups: Nats at Marlins

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MIAMI – Would you believe it if I told you the Nationals are looking for their first win of the season against the Marlins tonight?

Well, it’s true. The Marlins have won all four matchups so far in 2022, most recently last night behind a dominant start by Sandy Alcantara. These are not the same Marlins, against whom the Nationals used to rack up wins.

The Nats have at least one win against every opponent they’ve faced this year except the Fish.

Joan Adon will try to get deeper into tonight’s game than Aaron Sanchez’s 3 ⅔ innings of work last night. However, that’s also how far Adon went in his last start when he gave up three runs and five walks to the Mets. The rookie is 1-6 with a 7.03 ERA on the season and hasn’t faced the Fish yet in his young career.

Meanwhile, the Nats offense hopes to have more success against Cody Poteet than they did against Alcantara. The 27-year-old right-hander makes his first start of the season after posting an impressive 0.55 ERA and 0.980 WHIP in 16 ⅓ innings over eight relief appearances.

Poteet hasn’t faced the Nats this year and gave up five runs in three innings in his only start against them last year.

Nelson Cruz and Alcides Escobar will both return to the lineup tonight. 

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at MIAMI MARLINS
Where: loanDepot Park
Gametime: 6:40 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 The Fan, MLB.com
Weather: Indoors

NATIONALS
2B César Hernández
RF Juan Soto
1B Josh Bell
DH Nelson Cruz
LF Yadiel Hernandez
C Keibert Ruiz
3B Maikel Franco
SS Alcides Escobar
CF Victor Robles

RHP Joan Adon

MARLINS
2B Jazz Chisholm Jr.
1B Jesús Aguilar
DH Garrett Cooper
RF Avasaíl García
LF Brian Anderson
CF Bryan De La Cruz
C Jacob Stallings
SS Miguel Rojas
3B Erik González

RHP Cody Poteet

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Game 37 lineups: Nats at Marlins (updated)

Lane Thomas swing white

MIAMI – ¡Bienvenidos a Miami! After finishing up a six-game homestand by going 2-4 against the Mets and Astros, the Nationals now embark on a six-game road trip starting with tonight’s series opener against the Marlins.

Interestingly enough, the Nats have fared much better away from their home ballpark so far in 2022. They’re 7-9 (.438) in their 16 road games and have outscored their opponents 94-86. They are 5-15 (.250) and have been outscored 100-56 in 20 home games.

Aaron Sanchez will look to build off one of his strongest outings as a National, when he held the Mets to three runs on six hits with no walks over 5 1/3 innings Wednesday. For the season, Sanchez is 2-2 with a 7.58 ERA and 1.421 WHIP over four starts.

Sanchez made two starts against the Marlins last year as a member of the Giants, holding the Fish to just one run over a combined 9 2/3 innings.

Sandy Alcantara will take the bump for Don Mattingly’s club while looking to continue his strong start to the season. The right-hander is 2-2 with a 2.74 ERA that ranks ninth in the National League. He held the Nats to just one run over six innings in an April 26 win at Nationals Park.

This is my first solo road trip covering the Nats, so I’m excited to bring you coverage this week from South Beach. Mark Zuckerman will rejoin the team in Milwaukee on Friday.

Update: Nelson Cruz was scratched from tonight's lineup. Manager Davey Martinez said the slugger wasn't feeling well. Yadiel Hernandez is now the designated hitter and batting fourth, and Lane Thomas is now in left field and batting seventh.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at MIAMI MARLINS
Where: loanDepot Park
Gametime: 6:40 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 The Fan, MLB.com
Weather: Indoors

NATIONALS
2B César Hernández
RF Juan Soto
1B Josh Bell
DH Nelson Cruz Yadiel Hernandez
C Keibert Ruiz
3B Maikel Franco
LF Lane Thomas
SS Dee Strange-Gordon
CF Victor Robles

RHP Aaron Sanchez

MARLINS
2B Jazz Chisholm
DH Jesús Aguilar
LF Jorge Soler
1B Garrett Cooper
RF Avasaíl García
3B Brian Anderson
CF Bryan De La Cruz
SS Erik González
C Jacob Stallings

RHP Sandy Alcantara

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Game 36 lineups: Nats vs. Astros

Patrick Corbin throw white wide

The Nationals were held to one run during Friday night’s loss to the Astros. They exploded for 13 runs during Saturday night’s win over the Astros. So what should we expect from them during today’s series finale against the Astros?

As much as you’d love to see another offensive explosion, you’ve got to think the odds are stacked against them, with Justin Verlander taking the mound for Houston. The 39-year-old right-hander has been phenomenal so far this season, with a 4-1 record and league-leading 1.55 ERA and 0.639 WHIP. And he’s doing this in his return from Tommy John surgery. Like his former rotation mate in Detroit, Max Scherzer, Verlander is a freak of nature.

There are several Nationals with considerable experience against Verlander. Nelson Cruz is 15-for-57 with four doubles, three homers and 11 RBIs. Alcides Escobar is 18-for-88 with four doubles and four RBIs. And, of course, Juan Soto is 2-for-6 with a double and a titanic home run off Verlander during the 2019 World Series.

Runs are probably going to be at a premium today, though, so the pressure’s on Patrick Corbin to deliver another quality start. The left-hander seems to have turned his entire season around over his last three starts, producing a 2.37 ERA and 1.158 WHIP. The challenge today against the Astros lineup will be tougher, but success in this one might be the most legitimate evidence to date that Corbin actually has turned a corner.

HOUSTON ASTROS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:35 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, MLB.com
Weather: Chance of rain late, 79 degrees, wind 5 mph out to left field

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Game 35 lineups: Nats vs. Astros

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Very little went right for the Nationals on Friday night. They trailed 5-0 in the top of the first, and though Josiah Gray did right the ship after that, the lineup did nothing of consequence to try to mount a comeback. They’ll hope for a much better outcome tonight against the Astros, really hoping they can start stringing together some hits. (Or, even better, some extra-base hits.)

The challenge standing in their way: A Houston pitching staff that has allowed a grand total of 12 runs during the current 11-game winning streak. That’s almost impossible to believe, but it’s true. Cristian Javier, tonight’s starter, has been part of this run himself, and will take the mound with a 2-0 record and 0.83 ERA, though four of his six appearances to date have come out of the bullpen and he’s yet to top 87 pitches in either of his starts.

Davey Martinez has two changes from Friday night’s lineup. Yadiel Hernandez, who sat against Astros left-hander Framber Valdez, is back in there batting fifth and playing left field. And Dee Strange-Gordon gets the start at shortstop instead of Alcides Escobar, who actually had a strong night in the field but had another 0-fer at the plate.

Erick Fedde gets the ball for the Nationals. He managed to shut out the Angels’ potent lineup for five innings in his last start, but he found himself having to pitch out of trouble that entire outing. He’ll need to be more efficient tonight if he wants to go deeper in the game and take some load off the bullpen’s shoulders.

HOUSTON ASTROS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, MLB.com
Weather: Rain ending, 70 degrees, wind 4 mph right field to left field

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Game 34 lineups: Nats vs. Astros

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The Nationals are facing the Astros this weekend, if you haven’t heard, and that means it’s going to be a weekend filled with nostalgia. This is, of course, the first matchup between the two clubs since the 2019 World Series (non-spring training matchup, that is). So you’re going to see a lot of highlights from that glorious 10-day stretch in late-October 2019 all weekend, for better or worse.

It’s also Dusty Baker’s return to D.C. for the first time since he was let go by the Nationals following the 2017 season. At the time, it was reasonable to think Baker would never get another chance to manage in the big leagues. As it turned out, he did get another chance, and not only that but a chance to manage a World Series contender. We’ll see what kind of reception he gets this weekend from Nats fans, but I would imagine it will be a resoundingly positive one.

As for tonight’s series opener, Josiah Gray gets the ball against a tough Houston lineup. It’s the latest big test for the young right-hander, who in the big picture has impressed this season. He shut out the Giants over six innings two starts ago, then held the Angels to three runs over 5 1/3 innings last time out in a start that looked better than that final line would indicate.

The Nationals lineup, meanwhile, has to try to solve an Astros pitching staff that has been lights out. Those arms have allowed a total of 11 runs during the 10-game winning streak they carry into this series. Yes, only 11 runs allowed in 10 games. Left-hander Framber Valdez, who starts tonight, has been somewhat less effective than his rotation mates, allowing five total runs over his last two starts. Still pretty good, though.

HOUSTON ASTROS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: 980 AM, MLB.com
Weather: Chance of rain, 71 degrees, wind 7 mph in from right field

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Game 33 lineups: Nats vs. Mets

Dee Strange-Gordon Red

Almost halfway through this six-game homestand, the Nationals need to win this afternoon to earn a series victory against the Mets before the Astros come to town this weekend.

In the four home series before this one, the Nationals went 0-3-1, with the one tie coming in a four-game series three weeks ago in which they won the first two games against the Diamondbacks before dropping the last two.

Joan Adon looks to give the Nats an opportunity to win just their fifth home game of the season. The 23-year-old right-hander is 1-5 with a 6.99 ERA and coming off an outing in which he struck out a season-high six batters against the Angels. 

Adon faced this Mets squad in his season debut on April 9, giving up four runs on four hits and four walks while striking out three over 4 1/3 innings in a 5-0 loss.

Right-hander Taijuan Walker makes his fourth start for the Mets this season and first that won’t come against the Phillies. The 29-year-old is 0-0 with a 4.91 ERA over 11 innings in his three outings against Philadelphia. The Mets went 1-2 in those games, but the one victory came a week ago after Walker gave up seven runs (six earned) and nine hits in just four innings only to watch the Phillies bullpen completely implode while giving up seven runs in the ninth for an 8-7 Mets win.

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Game 32 lineups: Nats vs. Mets

Aaron Sanchez throw city connect

The Nationals have been playing better baseball, getting much better starting pitching. That hasn’t necessarily translated into a lot of wins, though. After going 3-1 to start their recent West Coast trip, they’ve gone 1-5 since entering tonight’s game against the Mets.

Aaron Sanchez gets the ball for his fourth start as a member of the rotation. All three previous outings have come against National League West opponents (the Giants twice, the Rockies once). Sanchez has his work cut for him in a Mets lineup that ranks first in the league in hits and on-base percentage and fourth in runs scored and OPS.

The Nats also have their work cut out facing right-hander Tylor Megill, who has been surprisingly dominant so far. Megill, you’ll remember, was the emergency opening day starter after both Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer were unavailable, and he proceeded to shut them out over five innings.

Alcides Escobar remains out after being scratched from last night's lineup with an infection under his left pointer finger nail. Dee Strange-Gordon is back playing shortstop and batting eighth.

NEW YORK METS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: The Team 980, MLB.com
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 66 degrees, wind 9 mph in from right field

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Orioles and Cardinals lineups

Chris Owings throw gray

ST. LOUIS – Ramón Urías is out of the Orioles lineup for tonight’s game against the Cardinals.

Urías was a late scratch last night due to discomfort in his abdomen, which he noticed in batting practice.

Chris Owings is the shortstop, with Rougned Odor at second base and Tyler Nevin at third.

Jorge Mateo also is on the bench.

Cedric Mullins recorded his 100th career RBI last night and had a season-high four hits. He has three home runs in his last six games and six extra-base hits in his last seven.

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Orioles and Cardinals lineups

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ST. LOUIS – Austin Hays remains the cleanup hitter and is playing right field tonight at Busch Stadium, where the Orioles open a three-game series against the Cardinals.

Per Orioles public relations, Hays ranks among major league leaders in the following categories since April 15:

* Tied for first in hits with 32
* Second in batting average at .386
* Fourth in OPS at 1.037
* Tied for fourth in total bases with 49
* Tied for fourth in on-base percentage at .447
* Tied for fifth in doubles with eight
* Seventh in slugging percentage at .590

Anthony Santander is in left field tonight.

Ramón Urías is the second baseman and Tyler Nevin is starting at third.

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Game 31 lineups: Nats vs. Mets

Patrick Corbin throw white wide

The Nationals are finally back home after a long West Coast trip that included some legitimate highs and some awful lows, all of it coming together for a 4-5 record. Now they need to see if they can start playing better at home, which has been quite a challenge in 2022.

Last time we saw them in D.C., the Nats were closing out a 10-game homestand with an eight-game losing streak. Overall, they’re a wretched 3-11 at Nationals Park this season. And the challenge doesn’t get any easier this week when the Mets and Astros come to town.

This is already New York’s second trip here. The first one, if you’ll recall, didn’t go well. The Mets won the first three games of the season-opening series before the Nationals rallied late to win the finale. The opener saw Patrick Corbin take the first of his five losses, though the lefty did toss four scoreless innings before falling apart in the fifth and allowing two runs.

Corbin has looked much better of late, pitching well in three of his last four starts, including a complete-game loss to the Rockies at Coors Field six days ago. Perhaps not coincidentally, Riley Adams was behind the plate for all three of those strong starts. So even though he started Sunday in Anaheim, Adams will start tonight and work with Corbin again.

The lineup will try to produce some runs against Mets starter Carlos Carrasco, who held them to one run and two hits in 5 2/3 innings during that early April series here. (UPDATE: The Nats made a late lineup change, scratching Alcides Escobar for unspecified reasons. Dee Strange-Gordon will now start at shortstop and bat seventh.)

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Game 30 lineups: Nats at Angels

Nelson Cruz swinging gray

ANAHEIM, Calif. – It’s been a long, strange trip for the Nationals. They headed west mired on an eight-game losing streak, then won two of three in San Francisco with a surprising offensive explosion, then lost two of three in Colorado, then split the first two games of this series with the Angels. What that means: Today is the rubber game, not only of the series but of the entire trip. Given what they’ve been through, a 5-4 record would be quite an achievement, no?

The Nats have put themselves in this position thanks in large part to a resurgent rotation that has performed far better of late than it did earlier in the season. Their starters have allowed three or fewer earned runs in six of the eight games to date on the trip. And they’ve averaged nearly 5 2/3 innings per start, a significant improvement from April.

Erick Fedde is among those most responsible for that change in directions, having tossed seven innings of one-run ball at Coors Field in his last start, arguably the best of his career. The Nats will be asking for more of that from Fedde today against a really good Angels lineup, though one that has mostly been held in check so far this weekend.

The Nats lineup also has enjoyed a strong trip, producing an average of 6.8 runs and 12.1 hits per game, batting a collective .330/.384/.497 out west. That group will try to do it one more time this afternoon against Angels left-hander Patrick Sandoval, who has been outstanding early this season (1.29 ERA, zero homers allowed in 21 innings).

Happy Mother’s Day to everyone out there watching and reading, and especially to the most important moms in my life: Lois Zuckerman and Rachel Zuckerman!

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Orioles and Royals Game 1 lineups

Orioles and Royals Game 1 lineups

The Orioles and Royals will try again today.

The weather has the final word, but it’s much kinder this morning.

Friday night’s game was postponed due to rain and rescheduled as part of a traditional doubleheader. Jordan Lyles is pushed back again to today, and the Royals are countering with Zack Greinke.

Bruce Zimmermann and left-hander Daniel Lynch start the second game of the twinbill.

Lyles has registered a 4.50 ERA and 1.615 WHIP in four starts, with 32 hits allowed in 26 innings. He’s 3-1 with a 2.20 ERA and 0.888 WHIP in five career starts against the Royals, surrendering eight runs in 32 2/3 innings and walking only two batters.

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Game 29 lineups: Nats at Angels

Josiah Gray gray

ANAHEIM, Calif. – What happened to the Nationals’ lineup? A group that averaged 7.8 runs on 13.8 hits through the first six games of this road trip was shut out on four hits Friday night by Angels rookie Jhonathan Diaz and four relievers. They had a couple good scoring chances early, then practically nothing of consequence late.

They’ll need a more consistent approach and some results tonight against Angels right-hander Michael Lorenzen, who nearly tossed a complete game in his last start, holding the White Sox to three runs over 8 1/3 innings. There aren’t many Nationals hitters with consequential experience against Lorenzen. Josh Bell is 7-for-21 with a homer, and Dee Strange-Gordon is 5-for-10 in his career. Otherwise, nobody has more than five plate appearances against Lorenzen.

Josiah Gray faces one of the toughest tests of his young career tonight in the Angels’ formidable lineup. We saw Joan Adon shine at times Friday night, despite a couple of costly mistakes. Gray’s challenge tonight will be to get ahead in the count with his fastball, put away hitters with his breaking balls and avoid giving up the longball that has often been his Achilles heel in the big leagues.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at LOS ANGELES ANGELS
Where: Angel Stadium
Gametime: 9:07 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 The Fan, MLB.com
Weather: Clear, 69 degrees, wind 10 mph out to left field

NATIONALS

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Game 28 lineups: Nats at Angels

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ANAHEIM, Calif. – Hello from the Happiest Place on Earth. Or, more technically, right down the street from the Happiest Place on Earth. The Nationals are here facing the Angels for the first time since July 2017, a series that featured the club debuts of Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson following their acquisitions from the Athletics.

During that series, a Nationals third baseman named Anthony Rendon hit a home run. Tonight, Rendon will be facing the organization that drafted him for the first time as a member of the Angels. It’s hard to believe this is already Rendon’s third year in Anaheim, and the Nats roster he’ll see across the way tonight doesn’t include a whole lot of faces he’ll be familiar with. Nonetheless, it’ll be strange to see him going up against them as a member of a very potent Angels lineup.

It’s a sizeable challenge for rookie Joan Adon, who struggled his last time out in San Francisco, giving up four runs on four hits, three walks and two hit batters in four-plus innings. Adon will have to find a way to keep the ball in the zone tonight and avoid the big innings that have plagued him over the last month.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at LOS ANGELES ANGELS
Where: Angel Stadium
Gametime: 9:38 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 The Fan, MLB.com
Weather: Clear, 70 degrees, wind 8 mph out to left field

NATIONALS
2B César Hernández
RF Juan Soto
1B Josh Bell
DH Nelson Cruz
3B Maikel Franco
LF Lane Thomas
C Keibert Ruiz
CF Victor Robles
SS Alcides Escobar

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Game 27 lineups: Nats at Rockies

Aaron Sanchez throw gray wide

DENVER – After a cold, rainy Wednesday night here at Coors Field, it’s a beautiful Thursday afternoon for the series finale between the Nationals and Rockies. The Nats have a chance to win their second straight road series, which would be no small feat under the circumstances.

They’ll hope to get the bats going again after getting shut down by left-hander Austin Gomber on Wednesday. Today they face right-hander Antonio Senzatela, who has only a bit of experience against Nationals hitters during his career. César Hernández (3-for-9, double), Josh Bell (3-for-5, double, two walks) and Maikel Franco (2-for-5, triple) have enjoyed the most success against Senzatela.

Aaron Sanchez, meanwhile, makes his third start since joining the Nats rotation. The 29-year-old right-hander faced the Giants each of his previous outings, losing to them once and then beating them in the follow-up game. Today he faces a Rockies lineup that really hasn’t done much so far this series, scoring five of its seven total runs in the bottom of the fourth Tuesday night, an inning that would’ve ended with a zero on the scoreboard if not for Alcides Escobar’s error on a tailor-made double play grounder.

Friendly reminder: Today’s game is available only on YouTube. It’s free and requires no login, only a computer, tablet, phone or smart TV of your choice. Here’s the link to watch it.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at COLORADO ROCKIES
Where: Coors Field
Gametime: 3:10 p.m. EDT
TV: YouTube
Radio: 106.7 The Fan, MLB.com
Weather: Mostly sunny, 62 degrees, wind 8 mph in from center field

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