Nationals manager Davey Martinez said first baseman Matt Adams was good to go Thursday, but the Nats opted to give him some more rest. The veteran slugger is not in the starting lineup tonight mainly because the Diamondbacks are pitching the left-hander Robbie Ray. Howie Kendrick is playing first base tonight.
“Yeah, he felt good,” Martinez said of Adams. “At that point, just kind of wanted to give him a day. But he swung the bat well, so definitely available.”
First baseman Ryan Zimmerman again took ground balls at first base during batting practice. Martinez said the running continues for Zimmerman and has not confirmed when, and if, the veteran will go out for rehab games. The team is home until June 24.
Zimmerman has been on the injured list since April 28 with plantar fasciitis in his right foot.
“He ran on the treadmill yesterday,” Martinez said of Zimmerman’s progress. “He came in today and so far he feels good. He’s going to go out and continue to do his baseball activity today and see how he feels. If he feels good, he is going to run again and we’ll go from there.”
Yesterday we reported Justin Miller complained of soreness after a minor league rehab game so the Nationals had the team doctor look at the right-hander. Miller has been out since May 18 with a right rotator cuff strain. The medical staff opted to take a step to help relieve some of the pain and soreness Miller was feeling.
“They injected him last night, so he’s going to take a couple of days without throwing and then we’ll see where he’s at,” Martinez said. “I don’t know what it was, but they injected him to calm (it) down a little bit.”
* The biggest buzz before the game was a look back at right-hander Trevor Rosenthal’s clean ninth inning Thursday night. Rosenthal struck out two and induced a flyout to end the frame. He threw 14 pitches, 12 for strikes. But in a 5-0 loss, it was a low-leverage situation.
With Rosenthal attempting to return to form following a gruesome start to the season, will Martinez now put the former closer into more game-changing roles as he builds back his confidence?
“He looked really, really good yesterday,” Martinez said. “So we just kind of gradually get him in there when I see fit. But yesterday, he was really, really good. It’s definitely encouraging. We just have to keep in mind ... I mean if we get him in there today, we know he’s available, so we’ll see how it goes.”
At the beginning of the season, even with Rosenthal not able to command his pitches very well, he still was able to get to 98 mph. But most of his fastballs on Thursday hovered a tick below at 95-96 mph.
Is that actually a range Martinez would prefer to see Rosenthal throwing right now?
“Part of the things that we talked about with him is he is a high-energy guy, which I don’t want to take away, but just go out there at 75 percent,” Martinez said. “His 75 percent is 150 percent. Don’t think that you have to go out there and just kind of grind. Just nice and easy. Fluidity is the word for him.
“Just nice and easy and you’ll be surprised how hard you throw. Yesterday, he threw a ball at 98 mph. He didn’t realize he threw the ball that hard. Ninety-five, 96 mph plays here. He doesn’t have to throw 100 mph. If he continues to throw strikes like that, it’s going to help us.”
Update: The Diamondbacks got to Max Scherzer and the Nats in the third inning thanks to a solo homer off the bat of Carson Kelly. It was Kelly’s eighth homer of the season and came on a 1-0 pitch. Even with the home run allowed, Scherzer has struck out five.
Michael A. Taylor singled for the Nats’ first hit in the bottom of the third. Scherzer’s sacrifice bunt was fielded by pitcher Robbie Ray, but his throw to second sailed into center field. Taylor went to third on the throwing error and Scherzer was safe at first. Trea Turner doubled down the left field line to score Taylor, tying the game at 1-1.
After three innings, the Nats lead the D-backs 3-1.
Update II: Nick Ahmed launched a solo homer over the left-center field wall and into the visitors’ bullpen to lead off the fifth. It was his fifth homer of the season and came on a first pitch.
Mid-fifth, the Nats lead the D-backs 3-2.
Update III: Anthony Rendon and Howie Kendrick blasted solo homers in the sixth to extend the lead for Washington. Rendon hitting No. 15 on a 3-2 pitch and Kendrick No. 12 on an 0-1 offering from Ray.
After six innings, the Nats lead the D-backs 5-2.
Update IV: Scherzer pitched seven innings, allowing two runs on three hits with one walk and 10 strikeouts. It is the 87th time in his career he has struck out 10 or more batters in a game and the fifth time he has done it this season.
In the seventh, Robles added an RBI single and Rendon a sacrifice fly that scored Turner.
After seven innings, the Nats lead the D-backs 7-2.
Update V: Sean Doolittle allowed a double to Kelly in the ninth ining and walked pinch-hitter Christian Walker, but closed out game.
Final score: Nats 7, te D-backs 3.