All eyes will be fixated on the transaction wire over the next 30 hours or so, not only as we get closer to tomorrow’s 4 p.m. trade deadline, but also because the Nationals had to make a number of roster moves this morning after 13 members (four players, nine staffers) tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday. Not to mention the potential of needing to fill other roster spots if some players depart later today via trade.
As if that weren’t enough of a wrench thrown into today’s plan, the forecast in Philadelphia is calling for thunderstorms all afternoon and evening.
On top of all that, there are still two baseball games to be played as the Nationals will try to wrap up a four-game series against the Phillies with today’s doubleheader, their last scheduled meeting in Philadelphia this season.
Today is Max Scherzer’s turn in the rotation, and even with everything going on, he told manager Davey Martinez last night that he wanted to pitch the first game. So he’ll bring his 7-4 record and 2.83 ERA to the mound in what could very likely be his last start in a Nationals uniform and a last showcase to potential trade suitors that he’s healthy enough for a playoff run. In two starts against the Phillies this year, Scherzer is 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA and 17 strikeouts. All of his outings against the Phillies this year have come at Citizens Bank Park.
Patrick Corbin was supposed to start last night’s postponed game and will now take the ball in the nightcap.
As for the roster moves, the Nationals:
* Recalled Luis García and Andres Machado from Triple-A Rochester
* Reinstated Yan Gomes and Tanner Rainey from the 10-day injured list
* Placed Alex Avila (who was already on the 10-day IL), Daniel Hudson, Trea Turner and Austin Voth on the COVID IL
* Optioned Tres Barrera to Rochester yesterday
And because we’re all wondering, a Major League Baseball official has said players on the COVID IL can still be traded, per our own Mark Zuckerman, who will have more on this morning’s news on the blog in a little bit.
Zack Wheeler will make his regularly scheduled start for the Phillies in the first game. He is 8-5 with a 2.37 ERA on the season, but 0-2 with a 3.86 ERA in three starts against the Nats. Each of his two losses have come against Scherzer.
WASHINGTON NATIONALS at PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
Where: Citizens Bank Park
Gametime: 12:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, MLB.com
Weather: Cloudy with chance of storms, 77 degrees, wind 9 mph out to center field
SS Alcides Escobar
RF Juan Soto
1B Josh Bell
3B Josh Harrison
2B Luis García
LF Gerardo Parra
C Yan Gomes
CF Andrew Stevenson
RHP Max Scherzer
2B Jean Segura
1B Brad Miller
RF Bryce Harper
LF Andrew McCutchen
C J.T. Realmuto
SS Didi Gregorius
3B Alec Bohm
CF Odúbel Herrera
RHP Zack Wheeler