Wieters sits for second straight game with sore knee (Nats win 3-2)

MILWAUKEE - Matt Wieters is out of the Nationals lineup for the second straight night, still dealing with a sore left knee that was injured late in Thursday's game at Miller Park.

Matt-Wieters-catchers-gear-sidebar.jpgWieters took a foul ball off that knee during the Nats' 6-2 loss to the Brewers in their series opener, and though he finished the game he has been held out of the lineup each of the last two nights.

Manager Dusty Baker doesn't expect his veteran catcher to miss any more time.

"He's doing OK," Baker said. "He should be back tomorrow, or if I need him, late in (tonight's) game, maybe. But we've got to preserve him. He's been banged up the last couple years of his career, so we really have to take care of him."

Wieters is on pace to start 116 games behind the plate this season, which would be his highest total since 2013 with the Orioles.

Jose Lobaton thus gets a rare opportunity to start back-to-back games, hoping to provide some offensive contributions late in what has been a difficult season. The veteran backup is hitting .153 in 138 plate appearances, with a .500 OPS that ranks dead-last in the majors among those who have played as much as he has.

The Nationals promoted 24-year-old Raudy Read from Double-A Harrisburg on Friday, giving them three catchers and a fallback in case something happens to Lobaton during the game. Pedro Severino, who was only optioned to Triple-A Syracuse eight days ago, will be eligible to be recalled Monday.

Update: We're through four innings here at Miller Park, with each team having scored a run in the fourth after failing to produce a hit through the first three frames. The Nationals needed a time through the order to get a read on Brandon Woodruff, but they were better the second time around. Howie Kendrick drew a leadoff walk and stole second. Daniel Murphy singled up the middle, but then was thrown out trying to advance to what briefly was an uncovered second base, with Murphy doing some kind of awkward jump-kick move thing or something as he got tagged out. No worries, because Ryan Zimmerman singled through a drawn-in infield to bring Kendrick home and give the Nats a 1-0 lead.

Max Scherzer retired the first nine batters he faced but then labored in the bottom of the fourth. Eric Sogard led off with a single to center, then scored moments later on Eric Thames' double into the right field corner. Dusty Baker, Mike Maddux and trainer Paul Lessard came out to check on Scherzer after that, but the right-hander waved them off. Still, he hasn't looked especially comfortable tonight, with his fastball velocity down a tick or two and his breaking ball command off. He took a comebacker off the lower part of his left leg in the first inning and may be feeling the effects of that. Stay tuned.

Update II: Scherzer definitely was bothered by his leg. After hitting a groundball in the top of the fifth, he could only run a couple steps out of the box before needing to stop. Despite all that, he still took the mound for the bottom of the inning and proceeded to post one more zero before walking off the mound (favoring his leg). And as the bottom of the sixth arrives, Oliver Pérez has taken over on the mound. Scherzer's final line: 5 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 2 K, 75 pitches, 44 strikes. We'll have to see afterward how signficant the lower left leg issue is.

Update III: The bottom of the sixth was not a work of fine art, from the Nationals perspective, at least. Pérez entered to replace Scherzer and wound up walking two batters and allowing a weird double to Stephen Vogt. The Vogt ball was a high chopper just over Zimmerman's leaping attempt. Murphy had a chance to keep the ball in the infield, but he couldn't and so the ball rolled down the right field line. Where Jayson Werth booted it, allowing the run to score. There was another poorly executed play on a little dribbler between the mound and first, but it didn't produce anything in the end, so no harm on that. Still, the Nats trail 2-1 after six and will need to rally to avoid a third straight loss.

Update IV: Well, things have taken a dramatic turn here. Michael A. Taylor greeted Josh Hader in the top of the eighth by blasting the lefty's first pitch to left field for his first homer since coming off the DL three weeks ago. That tied the game. Moments later, after Wilmer Difo beat out a bunt single, Trea Turner ripped a double off the center field wall, bringing Difo home with the go-ahead run. Just like that, Nats lead 3-2, with Ryan Madson having pitched a 1-2-3 seventh and now Brandon Kintzler entering for the eighth.

Update V: That's your ballgame. The Nats pull off a nice rally and emerge with a 3-2 victory, with Madson, Kintzler and Doolittle finishing it off over the final three innings. They've reduced the magic number to 13. Obviously the biggest news, though, is Scherzer's leg. Stay tuned for udpates.

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