When the Miami Marlins traded former All-Star Hanley Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers, it represented a sort of shift for the franchise. After opening a new stadium and escalating their payroll in the offseason, the Marlins have apparently seen enough of their 2012 roster and want to go in a different direction.
The Marlins beginning to blow things up means lots for the N.L. East as a division, it is now clearly a two-team race between the Braves and Nationals. It could, however, help the Nationals more than anybody.
Ramirez may not be the MVP candidate he was in 2009, but perhaps no team felt the wrath of Hanley more than Washington. Ramirez has hit more home runs (27) and RBI (74) against the Nationals than any other team in his career. He also carries a career average of .342 against the club, part of a 1.067 OPS.
Hanley may have regressed back into mediocrity over the last few years, but against Washington that hasnt been the case. This season he has a .355 average with two homers and five runs in nine games against the Nats.
Having him out of the division should be a positive for Washington, especially with a 42-74 record against the franchise since Ramirez became an everyday player in 2006. He does, however, boost a Dodgers lineup that could find itself playing the Nationals in October if both teams qualify for the postseason.
He has not played since Game 2 of the National League Division Series when he pulled up because of a hamstring strain after crossing first base. The strain was described at the time as “mild.” Robles has been working toward a return since then.
“We're going to run him a little bit [Sunday],” Davey Martinez said Sunday on a conference call. “He's got to get some treatment, and then we'll see [Monday]. He'll participate in BP and do a little bit more running, and we'll see where we're at [Monday].
“I'm not going to anticipate anything until he comes in [Monday], but he's progressing, and hopefully he'll be ready [Monday].”
Michael A. Taylor replaced Robles in center field. He hit an important solo home run Saturday and is hitting .300 in the postseason. He also made a significant judgment error in the outfield which allowed the Cardinals’ lone Game 2 -- and series -- run to score.
Martinez made it sound like Taylor’s time as the starting center fielder is over when Robles is ready to return.
“Victor has been in center field all year, and he's played really well for us,” Martinez said. “When he's healthy, he'll get a chance to play. But like I said before, we want him to be at 100 percent. So until then, we'll see what happens here in the next day or so.”
Few other changes are expected Monday. Stephen Strasburg will start. Kurt Suzuki -- despite his lack of postseason hitting and trouble throwing out runners -- should be behind the plate.
Reliever Roenis Elías, who has not thrown a pitch in the major leagues since Sept. 5, may be in the mix Monday because Patrick Corbin’s bullpen appearances are now on hold prior to his Game 4 start.
“Moving forward, Elias is going to have to get those big outs against the lefties here in the next couple days,” Martinez said.
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After the Washington Nationals won back-to-back NL East division titles from 2017-2018 but failed to make it past the NLDS in each of those seasons, they cut bait with manager Dusty Baker by electing not to re-sign him when his contract expired.
Baker now has a chance to return to a managerial role, as the Chicago Tribune is reporting that he’s earned an interview with the Philadelphia Phillies after they fired Gabe Kapler last week.
The Phillies of course employ the services of Bryce Harper, who played under Baker in Washington and has spoken highly of him in the past.
After the Nats let him go, Baker stepped away from baseball for a year before joining the San Francisco Giants as a special adviser to the CEO last season. The two-time All-Star outfielder has managed the Giants, Cubs, Reds and Nationals over parts of 22 seasons, amassing a career record of 1,863-1,636 (.532).
Of the 15 skippers with more wins in their managerial careers, 13 are in the Hall of Fame and one (Bruce Bochy) is a shoo-in to get there. The other is Gene Mauch, who joins Baker as the only two managers with at least 1,600 wins to never claim a World Series title.
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