Game 153 lineups: Nats at Reds

The Nationals have finally completed the National League East portion of their 2021 schedule. They played all 76 required games against the Braves, Mets, Phillies and Marlins, going a combined 30-46 along the way. (Not great, obviously.) So what’s left on the slate? Three series against non-division opponents: the Reds, Rockies and Red Sox.

It begins in Cincinnati with a four-game series that opens tonight. The Reds are trying to hang on the race for the final NL wild card berth, a wild race that has now been seized by the red-hot Cardinals. Cincinnati, which enters the day 4 1/2 games back, has gone just 7-12 in September after a 16-12 August, possibly spoiling their chances of a postseason berth.

Thumbnail image for Corbin-Fires-Gray-ATL-Sidebar.jpgThe Reds are still dangerous, though, especially with a lineup that includes Joey Votto and Nick Castellanos. So that’s tonight’s challenge for Patrick Corbin, who has two more shots to end his dreadful season on something of a positive note. Corbin will be working with Keibert Ruiz, who is back behind the plate after Alex Avila caught Corbin’s previous three starts (plus Josiah Gray on Wednesday in Miami).

The Nationals lineup is going to be without Yadiel Hernandez for a few days. The left fielder has gone on paternity leave, and his replacement on the roster isn’t another position player but reliever Jhon Romero. The 26-year-old right-hander, acquired from the Cubs in 2018 in the Brandon Kintzler trade, had a 2.62 ERA and 1.109 WHIP in 38 appearances with Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Rochester. He’ll be making his major league debut.

With Hernandez away, the Nats are bumping Luis García up to the No. 5 spot in the lineup. It’s a good test for the 21-year-old, who has swung a good bat this month. Andrew Stevenson starts in left field and will bat eighth.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at CINCINNATI REDS
Where: Great American Ball Park
Gametime: 6:40 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2
Radio: 106.7 FM, MLB.com
Weather: Partly cloudy, 63 degrees, wind 8 mph out to left field

NATIONALS
CF Lane Thomas
SS Alcides Escobar
RF Juan Soto
1B Josh Bell
2B Luis García
C Keibert Ruiz
3B Carter Kieboom
LF Andrew Stevenson
LHP Patrick Corbin

REDS
2B Jonathan India
C Tyler Stephenson
RF Nick Castellanos
1B Joey Votto
SS Kyle Farmer
3B Eugenio Suárez
LF Delino DeShields
CF Jose Barrero
RHP Luis Castillo

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