Having clinched the National League East division last night during the Nationals 2-0 loss at the hands of the Philadelphia Phillies, but home field advantage still on the line, the Nationals have decided to rest their regular players.
This is tonight's lineup vs. the Phillies:
So this means the following regulars are not playing: Ryan Zimmerman, Jayson Werth, Michael Morse, Kurt Suzuki, Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa. The only two regular starters: Bryce Harper and Adam LaRoche.
Don't forget Tom Gorzelanny, who has been pitching out of the bullpen. His numbers look good in limited action, but this may be as much a bullpen game for the Nationals as it is the Phillies.
The Washington Nationals sit at 96-64. The Cincinnati Reds sit at 96-64. With only two games left, whoever wins more – clinches home field advantage for the entire playoffs, with the World Series going to the National League representative thanks to the National League All-Star game victory.
I have a better idea: Give the Nationals a rest on Thursday, the regularly scheduled day off, or Friday, while the two Wild Card teams battle for a playoff spot.
The Cincinnati Reds are still pushing for the top seed and have been playing their healthy regulars. If the Nationals are serious about giong deep in the playoffs, it would behoove them to keep playing. The tiebreaker would go to the Nationals should their be a tie for the best record, so the Reds want to win that extra game. Tonight could be that night, and the Nationals could come to regret that.