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Washington Nationals lineup for today’s series finale with the San Diego Padres

Washington’s Nationals try for a split of their four-game set in Petco Park in today’s series finale with the San Diego Padres.

MLB: Washington Nationals at San Diego Padres Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Howie Kendrick’s RBI single in the top of the first inning on Saturday night put Washington’s Nationals up 1-0 early, and left him 16 for 40 (.400 AVG) with runners in scoring position on the season.

Kendrick walked his second time up against the San Diego Padres’ starter, Eric Lauer, and grounded out in his third trip to the plate against the southpaw, leaving him 1 for 2 with a walk against the left-hander and 21 for 53 (.396 AVG) against left-handed pitching so far in 2019.

That .396 AVG vs left-handers is the NL’s best among qualified hitters.

Kendrick finished the night in Petco Park 1 for 4 with a run scored and a walk, leaving him at .325/.363/.578 in 53 games and 171 plate appearances on the season, with nine doubles and 10 HRs overall.

He was 4 for 12 with three runs scored in the series with the Padres after Saturday, but he had been in the lineup for four straight games, and with the way Nationals’ manager Davey Martinez has handled him all season, as he’s trying to keep the 35-year-old, 14-year veteran healthy and on the field, there was definitely some question about whether the second-year skipper would run Kendrick out there again for the series finale in Southern California.

“You want to put him out there every day, but I’ve got to make sure he’s rested and that he stays healthy throughout the whole year,” Martinez explained late last month.

When the lineup was released this afternoon, Kendrick’s name was not included, but as the second-year skipper said last week, he knows what Kendrick can do when he starts, but he finds ways to contribute off the bench as well.

“The days he doesn’t feel right, to keep him fresh, we are able to put him in as a pinch hitter, it’s awesome,” Martinez said.

Kendrick isn’t starting today, but he is 5 for 15 with a double and a home run when he’s been used as a pinch hitter this season...