Game 57 lineups: Nats at Rays

A three-city road trip that began in promising fashion, with two wins in three days in Atlanta, now reaches its final leg with the Nationals now needing a strong finish against a tough opponent.

Having lost three of their last four (including two straight in Philadelphia over the weekend), the Nats tonight open a quick two-game series in St. Petersburg, Fla., against a Rays club that owns the best record in the American League at 38-23. As has been the case for several years now, Tampa Bay is winning not with a lot of big names but rather with roster depth, a quality bullpen and outstanding defense.

The Rays have a reputation for using relievers more than anyone, but tonight they send a true ace to the mound in Tyler Glasnow. The tall right-hander owns a 2.69 ERA, a 0.922 WHIP and 106 strikeouts in 77 innings. Unlike others in the Tampa Bay rotation, Glasnow is actually allowed to pitch deep in games; he has completed seven or more innings in three of his last four starts and twice has completed eight innings.

Zimmerman-HR-Swing-Gray-Sidebar.jpgSo the Nationals have their work cut out for them tonight. On the bright side, they get to add an extra position player to the lineup, so it’ll be Ryan Zimmerman at first base and Josh Bell serving as DH for this one. They also get Yan Gomes back behind the plate after the catcher missed four straight games with a tight hamstring. And then there’s this lineup wrinkle: Kyle Schwarber is leading off. It may look odd, but he did it 96 times for the Cubs from 2015-20, and manager Davey Martinez has mentioned it as a possibility from time to time. We’ll see how that look works tonight.

Jon Lester, meanwhile, makes this start on full rest after a gutsy start on short rest last week in Atlanta. The veteran lefty quietly may be turning a corner. If you combine his last two outings, he has allowed two runs in 9 2/3 innings, with a 1.24 WHIP. We’ll see if he can continue that trend this evening under the roof at Tropicana Field.

The Nationals made a roster move this afternoon: Austin Voth was placed on the 10-day injured list with a fractured nose (the result of getting hit by a pitch Sunday in Philly) and reliever Ryne Harper was recalled from Triple-A Rochester to take his spot in the bullpen.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at TAMPA BAY RAYS
Where: Tropicana Field
Gametime: 7:10 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, FS1, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, MLB.com
Weather: Indoors

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

LHP Jon Lester

RAYS
RF Manuel Margot
1B Yandy Díaz
DH Austin Meadows
LF Randy Arozarena
2B Mike Brosseau
3B Joey Wendle
C Mike Zunino
SS Taylor Walls
CF Kevin Kiermaier

RHP Tyler Glasnow

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