One of the biggest criticisms of Brian Snitker coming into 2020 was his seeming resistance of adapting to the current style of baseball. He is still not a perfect manager, and he has likely had his hand forced due to extenuating circumstances, but this season he has proven a willingness to rotate positions, give his players regular rest, and tinker with his lineup.
Case in point: after years of batting third in the Braves’ lineup with few exceptions, Freddie Freeman batted second yesterday and will bat there again tonight. What is this sorcery??
It’s true, the vertically gifted first baseman sits in the second spot in the lineup, flanked by Dansby Swanson and Travis d’Arnaud on either side. Marcell Ozuna will shoulder the designated hitter role this evening.
The bottom half of the order has been a danger zone as of late, as neither Austin Riley, Johan Camargo, nor Ender Inciarte have been able to gain any momentum at the dish. Under different circumstances, any or all of them might find themselves optioned or worse, but with 2020 continuing to behave just like 2020, the best solution for getting them going appears to be regular playing time.
The Nationals will send Anibal Sanchez to the mound, and he will be backed by this starting nine:
Juan Soto, who has been a terror on the league since returning for his brief COVID hiatus, will bat third and play left field. Earlier today, he was named the National League Player of the Week. Nationals prospect Luis Garcia will start at second and bat sixth, as he fills in for Starlin Castro who remains out with a broken wrist. They fill face Touki Toussaint, who is due for some redemption.
First pitch should come right at 7:10pm ET.