Game 20 lineups: Nats at Blue Jays

Earlier this month, former Nationals catcher Jonathan Lucroy compared his time in D.C. to the storyline of the movie “The Replacements,” in which Keanu Reeves leads a group of replacement players on the fictional Washington Sentinels to the playoffs in their fictional football league. (Of course, that movie was loosely based on the 1987 Washington Football Team replacements who won three games and helped the team go on to win the Super Bowl.)

Well, I’m no Shane Falco, but I’ll do my best as your replacement reporter for tonight’s series opener against the Blue Jays while Mark Zuckerman takes the night off before returning for tomorrow’s finale.

The Nationals find themselves back in Florida almost a month after leaving their spring training facility in West Palm Beach. But this time, they are on the Gulf Coast in Dunedin, where the Blue Jays call their spring training facility home to open the season while waiting for the Canadian government to adjust its mandatory quarantine regulations for international travelers before returning to Toronto.

Max Scherzer will make his fifth start of the season for the Nats, bringing a 1-1 record and 1.80 ERA, which is good for eighth best in the National League. He has struck out nine or more in three of his first four starts and is now just 15 back from tying Mickey Lolich for 20th on Major League Baseball’s all-time strikeout list. Scherzer is 4-2 with a 2.00 ERA in 10 career starts against the Blue Jays.

Thumbnail image for Zimmerman-Swings-at-PHI-Gray-Sidebar.jpgOf course, in an American League ballpark, manager Davey Martinez will be able to use a designated hitter for the first time this season. Ryan Zimmerman will man first base and bat third tonight, making his eighth start of the season and just his second in nearly two weeks, while Josh Bell will fill the DH role right behind him.

Trea Turner is also back in the lineup and leading off, which is notable since he left Sunday’s game early after he was struck by a pitch on the left forearm and was diagnosed with a contusion after X-rays came back negative. We’ll have more information from Martinez in just a bit.

The Blue Jays will be sending out right-hander Trent Thornton to start a bullpen game against a Nationals lineup that is struggling to score runs consistently. Thornton did the same thing in his last outing against the Red Sox, pitching two scoreless innings in an eventual 6-3 win.

You can check out the rest of our replacement crew covering the game tonight on MASN2. Dan Kolko will be taking over play-by-play duties for Bob Carpenter, who is taking time off to celebrate his daughter’s birthday. And Alex Chappell will be back on your televisions, handling pregame and postgame duties starting at 6:30 p.m. while also contributing to the in-game broadcast.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at TORONTO BLUE JAYS
Where: TD Ballpark (Dunedin, Fla.)
Gametime: 7:07 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, MLB.com
Weather: Clear, 79 degrees, wind 7 mph out to right field

NATIONALS
SS Trea Turner
RF Yadiel Hernandez
1B Ryan Zimmerman
DH Josh Bell
LF Kyle Schwarber
2B Josh Harrison
3B Starlin Castro
C Alex Avila
CF Victor Robles

RHP Max Scherzer

BLUE JAYS
RF Cavan Biggio
SS Bo Bichette
1B Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
DH Rowdy Tellez
CF Randal Grichuk
2B Marcus Semien
3B Joe Panik
LF Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
C Alejandro Kirk

RHP Trent Thornton

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