Game 58 lineups: Nats at Rays

The Nationals, as you know by now, have not been a productive offensive team this season. But they have been more productive when facing a left-hander. Their .679 OPS versus righties ranks 20th in the majors, but their .759 OPS versus lefties ranks 11th.

So maybe, just maybe, tonight’s game against Rays left-hander Shane McClanahan offers an opportunity to score some early runs and set a better tone for the game than has been typical for this team. The Nats would be wise to get to McClanahan early, because the 24-year-old rookie barely averages four innings per start. Owner of an upper-90s fastball, he has reached the 80-pitch mark only once, as Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash likes to go to his bullpen quick.

Thumbnail image for Castro-RBI-Single-Gray-Sidebar.jpgNats manager Davey Martinez is going with his best hitters versus left-handers in the top half of his lineup. That means Kyle Schwarber, Josh Bell and Starlin Castro (who at times have hit third, fourth and fifth for this team) are batting sixth, seventh and eighth tonight.

Unlike the Rays, the Nationals do want their starting pitchers to go deep. And after a road trip that has been a lot asked of the bullpen, a deep start by Patrick Corbin would sure be nice. He’s actually only topped the 100-pitch mark once so far this year, a product both of his performance and sometimes the need to send up a pinch-hitter for him. No such worries tonight in an American League park, so perhaps Martinez will leave his lefty in no matter what.

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

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

LHP Patrick Corbin

RAYS
RF Manuel Margot
1B Yandy Díaz
LF Austin Meadows
DH Randy Arozarena
3B Mike Brosseau
C Francisco Mejía
2B Brandon Lowe
SS Taylor Walls
CF Brett Phillips

LHP Shane McClanahan

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