No Ian Desmond today, though Washington Nationals' skipper Matt Williams said he was feeling better after a tight back took him out of last night's game. No Anthony Rendon either for the series finale with the Atlanta Braves, as the 24-year-old infielder is sick with the same issue that Adam LaRoche dealt with last week on the road.
Kevin Frandsen starts at third in place of Rendon.
Danny Espinosa gets the starts at short today.
Asdrubal Cabrera talked before this afternoon's game about working with Espinosa at short instead of Ian Desmond, who hasn't taken many days off since Cabrera arrived via trade at the non-waiver deadline.
"I've never played with him at short, but we've got practice today," Cabrera said, outside of the last three innings Espinosa played at short last night, "so I'll try to work a little bit with him during BP."
That little bit of work, the veteran infielder explained, should be enough for the two of them to get used to one another's tendencies.
"He knows what he has to do and he plays second too," Cabrera explained, "so he knows what is easier for us to turn double plays."
As for the Nationals' recent success against the Braves, who've dropped the first two games of this week's three-game set in D.C., Cabrera, who hasn't been here to see the Nats struggle against Atlanta in the last two seasons, said it's just about playing solid baseball.
"We're just playing really good. We're playing good baseball right now. It's really fun. Hopefully we keep doing what we're doing."
He also said he enjoys working behind today's starter, Stephen Strasburg, who pounds the zone when he's sharp and keeps his fielders alert.
"I really like it because he's a pitcher that throws a lot of strikes," Cabrera said, "so he makes the infielders work, keeps you on your toes."
Nats' skipper Matt Williams talked about the infielders who aren't in the lineup today in his pregame press conference. Desmond's tight lower back flared up during last night's game, so he left after five innings.
"He's okay," Williams said. "He could have played. He texted me this morning and said he was good, but we decided it's probably more important that he also gets a day off, he hasn't had many of them. So, nip it in the bud and make sure that he's good to go for the road trip."
Rendon, Williams noted, is sick.
"He's got a little bit of what Adam [LaRoche] had in L.A. He's sick and doesn't feel well. He's been under the weather for a couple days really. Last night it got worse. So, we just decided to give him a day. He's quarantined in the back and sleeping."
"He's available. We'd like to stay away from him if at all possible, keep him off the bench away from everybody if we can, but yeah, he's available sure."
• Here's the Nationals' lineup for the series finale with the Braves: