Game 51 lineups: Nats at Braves

May was not kind to the Nationals, who went 11-17 and fell to a season-worst eight games under .500. If you’re looking for silver linings, though, they were outscored for the month by only five runs (116-111). The average score of their wins was roughly 7-3. The average score of their losses was roughly 5-2. The point, if there is one: When the Nats hit, they win. When they don’t hit, they lose.

So perhaps the flip of the calendar to June will benefit this team. (Nothing else has worked.) And perhaps the return to the lineup of Victor Robles will make a positive difference, even if the center fielder is batting ninth again. Manager Davey Martinez hinted at this Monday, saying he prefers to keep Robles in a spot in which he was having success before he sprained his ankle. If the success continues, perhaps he’ll get bumped up to the leadoff spot eventually.

Gomes-Swings-Gray-Sidebar.jpgThe Nationals are facing left-hander Max Fried tonight, and they have fared better against lefties this season (.755 OPS versus .686 against righties). Trea Turner, Josh Harrison, Ryan Zimmerman and Yan Gomes all sport an OPS over .897 versus southpaws, so not surprisingly all four of those guys are in the lineup. Starlin Castro is batting .333 versus lefties, so even though he’s not hitting for power that’s still a better matchup for the third baseman.

Then there’s Stephen Strasburg, who makes his third start off the injured list, facing a much stiffer challenge tonight in a Braves lineup that leads the National League in homers, slugging percentage and OPS than he did facing the Orioles and Reds previously. Strasburg is going to need to be sharper than he was last time, especially with his fastball command, which eluded him against Cincinnati.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at ATLANTA BRAVES
Where: Truist Park
Gametime: 7:20 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, MLB.com
Weather: Partly cloudy, 80 degrees, wind 6 mph out to left field

NATIONALS
SS Trea Turner
2B Josh Harrison
RF Juan Soto
1B Ryan Zimmerman
3B Starlin Castro
LF Kyle Schwarber
C Yan Gomes
RHP Stephen Strasburg
CF Victor Robles

BRAVES
RF Ronald Acuña Jr.
1B Freddie Freeman
2B Ozzie Albies
3B Austin Riley
SS Dansby Swanson
LF Abraham Almonte
C Williams Contreras
CF Guillermo Heredia
LHP Max Fried

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