A new-look lineup. Robles to AAA. Stevenson and Suero recalled. Washington has been busy over the past few hours.
On what had been an uneventful Tuesday, the Washington Nationals decided to make some news. First, they announced that both Andrew Stevenson and Wander Suero were being recalled from AAA. To make room for the duo, former top prospect Victor Robles was optioned to AAA. Kyle Finnegan was placed on paternity leave.
Robles had recently been bumped from the starting lineup for Lane Thomas, who has shown no indications of releasing the job. Thomas has been excellent since arriving in D.C. at the trade deadline, slashing .310/.408/.861 in 49 plate appearances. With Robles playing time dwindling, it was only time before he was sent down. Once seen as the future in center, Robles’s time with the team is now in question.
Stevenson, who was optioned over a week ago, tore it up in AAA, going 9-24, with an RBI. Since the trade deadline, Washington’s outfield has started to become crowded and Stevenson is running out of opportunities to prove he can stick.
At the start of the month, Suero was optioned to AAA in order for him to work on his command. A favorite of Dave Martinez, the righty had started to lose his effectiveness and was becoming wild. Unfortunately, he was unable to bounce back and instead posted an ugly 10.57 ERA in 7.2 innings.
Shortly after the roster news was announced, the Nationals released tonight’s lineup and it had a few surprises. Most notably, Carter Kieboom had been bumped up to second in the order, replacing the injured Alcides Escobar.
Since taking over as the team’s full-time starter at the hot corner, the 23-year-old has finally started to play with confidence and has been polarizing to watch.
Hitting in front of Juan Soto will allow for the youngster to see better pitches. Soto is arguably the best hitter in the game and leads all of baseball in walks because no one wants to pitch to him. Since shipping out Trea Turner, no one has been able to consistently get on in front of the slugger, leading him to be pitched around. Pitchers won’t want to walk Kieboom, with Soto on deck and instead will be forced to attack the strike zone. It will be interesting to see if Kieboom can take advantage.
Another notable move that stood out was the middle infield paring. With Escobar sidelined, Luis Garcia will move to short and Anibal Sanchez will get the start at second. A natural shortstop, Garcia was shifted to second due to the presence of Turner. Washington’s infield depth will be tested, with no other options being left on the bench.
The biggest surprise was Josh Bell getting the nod in left, having only played one other game this season in the outfield. Ryan Zimmerman will be starting at first, but Dave Martinez wanted both bats in the lineup. This will be Bell’s first time playing leftfield.