Dusty Baker told reporters on Thursday that he planned on resting Anthony Rendon tonight and giving Wilmer Difo a start at third base.
“Tomorrow [Difo is] at third cause I’m giving Anthony [Rendon] — I think he needs a blow,” Baker explained.
This will be Difo’s third start of the season and sixth career start at third base.
“I told him that’s what a qualified sixth man does,” Baker explained, as he talked about finding at bats for Difo anywhere he can.
“I’ll get him in there whenever I can and I just told him to stay ready and have a lot of different gloves.”
Difo has played right field, second, and now third in the week that Trea Turner has been back from the Disabled List.
Rendon is coming off a .266/.360/.404 August, which saw the 27-year-old Nats’ third baseman hit 10 doubles and one home run, with 13 walks and 20 Ks in 28 games and 114 plate appearances, leaving him with a .305/.407/.543 line, 34 doubles, 22 HRs, 72 walks and 75 Ks in 513 PAs, over which he’s been worth a major league-leading 6.4 fWAR (tied for the lead with the Houston Astros’ Jose Altuve).
Difo, 25, has been a pleasant surprise for the Nationals this season, getting more at bats than expected with Turner injured and out for 51 games.
Through 97 games, Difo has posted a .289/.340/.406 line, eight doubles, four triples, five HRs, 21 walks, and 60 Ks in 296 PAs, over which he’s been worth 1.5 fWAR.
On the mound for the Nationals tonight, is Tanner Roark, who went (3-1) in five starts in August, over which he put up a 3.48 ERA, 4.55 FIP, 11 walks, 25 Ks, and .209/.278/.391 line against in 31 IP.
Jimmy Nelson starts for the Brewers in Milwaukee, after the right-hander held Nats’ hitters to four hits and two earned runs over seven innings on the mound in D.C. in July, striking out ten in what ended up an 8-5 loss for the so-called Brew Crew.