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Washington Nationals’ lineup for tonight’s series opener with the Atlanta Braves

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Washington and Atlanta start a three-game set at 7:10 PM tonight in Truist Park.

Baltimore Orioles v Washington Nationals Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

With wins in 2 of 3 games in Baltimore, MD over the weekend, the defending World Series champ Washington Nationals improved to 8-11 after 19 games in this 60-game season. It’s been a bumpy road early in the 2020 pandemic campaign, but we all learned last year the bumpy road leads to a beautiful place. Though the highway probably is a smoother ride...

But anyway. Davey Martinez on where his club stands just about a third of the way through the season:

“We just finished winning a series,” Martinez said on Sunday afternoon, before boarding a flight from Baltimore to Georgia.

“We’re kind of playing see-saw baseball really. We’ve got to get on a roll. We’ve got to get Adam Eaton hitting. We’ve got to get [Eric] Thames swinging the bat.

“We start getting those guys to start hitting, we’re going to get Howie [Kendrick] back in the lineup when he’s fully healthy, but when we get those guys back, we start scoring runs, then we got to worry about our starting pitchers going six or seven innings like Max [Scherzer] did today. I like the way our bullpen has been throwing the ball, we just got to get them the ball. We’ve just got to hang in there. This is a weird season. It’s strange. But I tell the boys every day, hey, we go 1-0 every day and show up at the ballpark and let’s bang heads and do the best we can to come out with a victory.”

Hold on a minute: Get Kendrick back “when he’s fully healthy”? So Kendrick is not fully healthy?

When he didn’t start against Orioles’ lefty John Means on Sunday, that raised an eyebrow or two.

“His hammies are tight,” Martinez explained. “With him we’ve got to be very careful. I’d rather him just take the two days off and hopefully tomorrow he feels better, we can pop him in the lineup either DH or first base.

“We’ll see how he feels tomorrow. But he’s played three or four days in a row and his hammies got tight on him, so I said told him, ‘Let me know when you’re right.’

“I’d rather give you a few days off than you miss three weeks, because if you miss three weeks that’s pretty much it.”

Martinez managed Kendrick carefully last season, in the 36-year-old’s 14th big league season and he was there at the end when they needed him, so the skipper is going to handle things the same way in Kendrick’s 15th campaign.

“This happened last year to him, same deal, so we just want to keep a close eye on it and like I said, he communicates with me every morning and when he feels ready he can go, we’ll put him in the lineup.”

Apparently, Kendrick didn’t feel ready to go tonight...

HERE’S THE NATIONALS’ LINEUP FOR THE OPENER WITH THE BRAVES: