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Ender Inciarte returns to the Braves lineup, Matt Adams, Howie Kendrick absent from Nationals order

Austin Riley sits amid continued struggles at the plate.

MLB: San Diego Padres at Atlanta Braves Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Following a two-month absence due a back injury, Ender Inciarte is back in the lineup for the Braves against the Nationals. I do not feel anyone can deny that the Atlanta Braves lineup is at its best with Austin Riley producing in the middle of it. However, with the way Riley is struggling, it will not take much from Inciarte offensively to combine with the defensive upgrade he provides for him to bring just as much, if not more, value to the Braves lineup in the present.

The next few weeks are certain to be full of several more roster moves, and not just externally. One positive from Inciarte’s activation is that the Braves bench is likely the deepest is has been in years. This could mean more rest days for starters, the ability to play match-ups, and better defense to secure wins late in games. Perhaps the Braves will become more flexible with their lineup, as Riley and others need regular at bats.

Time will tell, but having this many valuable pieces is hardly ever a problem, and is a characteristic the best teams in baseball share. The Braves front office has smart enough to get us this depth. They and the coaching staff know, or will figure out, how to use each piece effectively.

The major take away from the Nationals lineup is the absence of Howie Kendrick and Matt Adams. Kendrick has been one of the best offensive values in the majors this year. Adams has connected for four of his five career home runs against the Braves over the past two seasons, including two in 14 at-bats this year. Regardless, the combination of Juan Soto and Anthony Rendon remains. A big key for Atlanta will be minimizing the impact of Trea Turner. If they can keep him off the base paths, it will be a big benefit to helping them win tonight.

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