Game 127 lineups: Nats at Mets

If you go back about six weeks, back when the Nationals were still wondering if they’d be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline, one of the arguments supporting them to go for it was the Mets’ schedule. New York, despite leading the National League East most of the season, was going to face an absolute gauntlet in mid-August, with 13 consecutive games against the Dodgers and Giants. If the Nats could just stay close until then, the thought went, they would have a chance to surpass them during this stretch.

As we all know, the Nationals couldn’t hold up their end of the bargain in late July, crumbling at the worst time and convincing the front office to undergo a massive sell-off. What about the Mets? Well, they just finally completed that 13-game gauntlet against the NL West’s two best teams, and they went 2-11 and have now seen their season collapse.

That doesn’t make the Nats’ decision to sell wrong. Not at all. They weren’t in a position to turn things around enough to climb back to the top of the division. Besides, the Braves have taken the most advantage of all this, going a stunning 17-5 since the trade deadline to now take a commanding lead in the NL East.

But it is notable how the Mets indeed fell apart, just as many with the Nationals thought they might. And that leaves this weekend’s series at Citi Field feeling a whole lot less significant than it might’ve been.

Thumbnail image for Espino-Throws-Gray-Camo-Sidebar.jpgThat kind of applies to tonight’s pitching matchup, as well. It’s Paolo Espino, the journeyman 34-year-old finally getting his first extended chance to start in the big leagues for the Nats, against Rich Hill, the 41-year-old lefty who hasn’t enjoyed much success this season but just keeps plugging along.

Of note in the Nationals lineup: Victor Robles and Lane Thomas are both in there tonight, with Robles leading off in center field and Thomas batting sixth in left field while Yadiel Hernandez takes a seat against the lefty.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at NEW YORK METS
Where: Citi Field
Gametime: 7:10 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN
Radio: 106.7 FM, MLB.com
Weather: Chance of rain late, 85 degrees, wind 6 mph out to center field

NATIONALS
CF Victor Robles
SS Alcides Escobar
RF Juan Soto
1B Josh Bell
3B Carter Kieboom
LF Lane Thomas
C Riley Adams
2B Luis García
RHP Paolo Espino

METS
CF Brandon Nimmo
1B Pete Alonso
SS Francisco Lindor
2B Javier Báz
RF Michael Conforto
3B J.D. Davis
LF Dominic Smith
C Tomás Nido
LHP Rich Hill

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