There's no Daniel Murphy this afternoon as the Washington Nationals' first/second baseman sits out again with a sore left hamstring, injured during this past week's All-Star Game.
Nats' skipper Dusty Baker told reporters yesterday that Murphy said he was good to go after tweaking the hamstring sliding into second base late in last Tuesday's Midsummer Classic.
"It’s just from my experience - my own personal experience and experience as a coach and manager - dealing with hamstrings, they tell me they’re ready, then I tend to give them an extra day," Baker said, as quoted by MASN's Mark Zuckerman. "So he’ll probably be ready tomorrow."
Without Murphy in the lineup, the Nationals have managed to take the first two of three from the Pittsburgh Pirates in D.C., and they've won five-straight overall, leaving them twenty games over .500 with a 7.0-game lead in the division.
"That was our goal, to be twenty over," Baker told reporters after last night's 6-0 win.
"We were knocking on it a couple times and we went backwards and also I challenged the team to finish strong in the first half and then come out of the second half strong as well.
"A lot of times you can catch teams that are still in vacation-mode right before the first half ends and right when the second half starts and I don't know, what have we picked up, three of four games in the last six or seven?
"So the guys have really responded to what I asked them to do."
As Nationals' PR rep Amanda Comak noted on Twitter this morning, the pitching has certainly done their part during the Nats' five-game winning streak with Washington's starters (5-0) with a 1.01 ERA over that stretch.
Max Scherzer will try to keep that streak and the Nationals' winning streak going this afternoon in the series finale with the Pirates.
Here's the Nationals' updated lineup for this afternoon's game in the nation's capital with Anthony Rendon scratched with flu-like symptoms: