Make Lineup Changes
With Rendon coming back tonight, that will allow Howie Kendrick to slide over to first base until either Matt Adams or Ryan Zimmerman can come back. When Kendrick needs a breather, both catchers must be in the game with one catching and one at first.
Both Kurt Suzuki and Yan Gomes are an upgrade in the lineup over Jake Noll. On top of that, we saw Noll’s sub-par defense at first base cost Anibal Sanchez two runs in the first inning in Philadelphia on Sunday, so there shouldn’t be a huge defensive drop off with Gomes or Suzuki at first.
The Nationals can’t afford to give other teams outs. A lineup with Carter Kieboom, Noll, Stevenson, and the pitcher’s spot just isn’t going to cut it. Neither of those players has a slugging percentage over .325 this season.
Substituting Noll with Kendrick is a must while replacing Hernandez for Stevenson at least gives the Nationals the opportunity for a big offensive upgrade. Kieboom is striking out at a ridiculous 38% clip.
Unfortunately for Kieboom, the 21-year-old was forced into action too soon, but now there’s not much the club can do about it.
Sending Kieboom back down to AAA at this point would be a huge bruise in his development. Mike Rizzo is probably going to have to wear this one. With that being said, Davey Martinez needs to figure out the best spot in the lineup to give Kieboom some protection.
As he did by hitting Victor Robles 9th earlier in the season, Martinez will have to figure out which spot will give Kieboom the best opportunity to see strikes. Hitting in front of Eaton in the 9th spot is probably ideal. At that point, it will be on Kieboom to take the bat off his shoulders and make some contact.