GO HERE FOR THE LIVE GAME THREAD ON NATSINSIDER.COM
The start of Chien-Ming Wang's season hasn't exactly gone the way the Nationals (or the veteran right-hander) hoped it would, but tonight he'll get a chance to right his ship when he takes the mound in Toronto. Wang showed signs of progress from his first start to his second start, and he'll look to take another step forward tonight against the Blue Jays.
Wang will have a familiar target behind the plate in Jhonatan Solano, who gets the nod in place of Jesus Flores. This is Solano's third major-league start, and all three have come with Wang as his batterymate. Coincidence?
Meanwhile, Davey Johnson's plan to give Roger Bernadina more playing time was derailed when Bernadina strained his hamstring sliding into third base during last night's game. So Rick Ankiel is back in center field tonight (and probably tomorrow).
As you know, I'm not in Toronto for this series, so please enjoy the conversation among yourselves...
WASHINGTON NATIONALS at TORONTO BLUE JAYS
Where: Rogers Centre
Gametime: 7:07 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 178
LF Steve Lombardozzi
RF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
DH Michael Morse
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
CF Rick Ankiel
C Jhonatan Solano
(RHP Chien-Ming Wang)
BLUE JAYS (31-30)
3B Brett Lawrie
CF Colby Rasmus
RF Jose Bautista
1B Edwin Encarnacion
2B Kelly Johnson
SS Yunel Escobar
DH David Cooper
LF Rajai Davis
C Jeff Mathis
(RHP Henderson Alvarez)
HP Adrian Johnson, 1B Gary Cederstrom (cc), 2B Lance Barksdale, 3B Fielden Culbreth
The Washington Nationals announced Friday Dusty Baker will not return as manager of the club in 2018.
Baker led the team to the first back-to-back division titles in franchise history, and the Nationals were 192-132 under Baker, but they failed to make it to an NLCS.
Baker is 14th in MLB history with 1,863 career wins.
The next Nationals' manager will be their seventh since they arrived in DC.
Only the Marlins have had as many.
"I'm surprised and disappointed," Baker told USA TODAY Sports. "They told me they would get back to me and I told them I was leaving town yesterday and they waited 10 days to tell me."
"I really thought this was my best year. We won at least 95 games each year and won the division back to back years but they said they wanted to go a different direction. It's hard to understand."
The team also announced the contracts for the Major League coaching staff have also expired, and the search for a new manager will begin immediately.
RELATED: BRYCE HARPER THANKS NATIONALS' FANS FOR SUPPORT
While Nats fans were still digesting the news that Dusty Baker will not return as manager next year, the team released some more surprising news.
Second baseman Daniel Murphy underwent knee surgery today, per an official team report.
Washington Post reporter Chelsea Janes reported that the surgery is considered significant and the team won't put a timeline on the recovery process:
"The procedure, according to the statement released by the team, repaired articular cartilage in Murphy’s right knee. For those interested in the details, it was a debridement and microfracture surgery, and orthopedic surgeon Timothy Kremchek performed it."
"For those concerned with the implications of the procedure, those are still unclear. The statement clarified that Murphy’s rehab “will progress throughout the offseason,” as one would hope, and did not include a timetable.
RELATED: HARPER THANKS FANS FOR SUPPORT