Game 15 lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals (updated)

Well, this is what it has come to: The Nationals tonight desperately need a quality start from Patrick Corbin, who has yet to come close to producing such a performance in 2021 (and often didn’t do it in 2020, for that matter). In 13 starts since the 2019 postseason, Corbin has made it through six or more innings allowing three or fewer earned runs only six times. And four of those came in his first six starts last season.

Corbin-Throws-White-Sidebar.jpgRecent history aside, the Nats simply can’t afford another blowup from one of their starters, Corbin or otherwise. The bullpen has been taxed too much already, as manager Davey Martinez pointedly referenced Monday night. So even if Corbin labors early, Martinez may have no choice but to leave him out there and try to get some innings out of him.

The club did make a roster move today to help prepare for such a possibility: Right-hander Steven Fuentes was called up from the alternate training site in Fredericksburg, with Ryne Harper optioned down. Fuentes, 23, would be making his major league debut if he enters the game.

The Nationals could help their cause by jumping out to an early lead against Adam Wainwright, as they did Wednesday in St. Louis, when they scored four runs in five innings off the Cardinals veteran. Ryan Zimmerman provided the early blast: a two-run homer at the end of a fantastic, nine-pitch at-bat. Given his history versus Wainwright (16-for-45, four homers, 1.125 OPS) you might have thought Zimmerman would be in tonight’s lineup, but instead at first base it’s still Josh Bell, who did look better Monday night with a double and a couple other well-struck balls.

Also in the lineup: Yan Gomes, who is catching for the fourth straight day, but almost always teams up with Corbin.

Update: More bad news for the Nats: Juan Soto has been placed on the 10-day IL with a strained left shoulder, an unexpected announcement less than an hour before first pitch. Yadiel Hernandez was recalled from the Fredericksburg camp to take his roster spot. Andrew Stevenson will now bat leadoff, with Josh Harrison second and Trea Turner third.

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, MLB.com
Weather: Clear, 71 degrees, wind 12 mph out to left field

NATIONALS
RF Andrew Stevenson
2B Josh Harrison
SS Trea Turner
1B Josh Bell
LF Kyle Schwarber
3B Starlin Castro
C Yan Gomes
CF Victor Robles
LHP Patrick Corbin

CARDINALS
2B Tommy Edman
1B Paul Goldschmidt
3B Nolan Arenado
C Yadier Molina
CF Dylan Carlson
SS Paul DeJong
LF Austin Dean
RF Justin Williams
RHP Adam Wainwright

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