NEW YORK -- The Nationals' lineup is starting to look more and more like they initially envisioned, after a rash of early-season injuries robbed them of so many of their regular position players. They got their leadoff hitter, Adam Eaton, back this past weekend. On Tuesday night, Daniel Murphy was
NEW YORK -- The Nationals' lineup is starting to look more and more like they initially envisioned, after a rash of early-season injuries robbed them of so many of their regular position players. They got their leadoff hitter, Adam Eaton, back this past weekend. On Tuesday night, Daniel Murphy was activated from the disabled list and played for the first time all season.
It was as close to full strength as Washington's lineup has been in some time, and yet the Nationals were still blanked in a 3-0 loss to the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. It's the second consecutive game Washington has been held scoreless.
The Nationals entered Tuesday hitting .199 as a team over their previous nine games, five of which were losses. But they should be due for a turnaround on offense. Eaton collected another hit in this game and has looked good since returning to the lineup. And Murphy's return should provide a boost in the middle of the order, even though he went 0-for-4 in his first game back since he underwent microfracture surgery on his right knee in October.
"It's huge," Bryce Harper said. "Whenever you get your table-setter back at the top of the lineup and get Murphy back going, that's big for us. So just got to get some at-bats, get some games underneath themselves and get right where they need to be."
The Nationals were playing in their first game at Yankee Stadium since 2015 against one of the best teams in the Majors. Right-hander Tanner Roark fell victim to a pair of solo home runs by Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius on a pair of pitches that missed their location. Otherwise, Roark was solid in six innings of three-run ball.
But he did not have any margin for error. The Nationals managed just four hits against left-hander Carsten Sabathia as he tossed 5 2/3 scoreless frames, and the Yankees' bullpen closed out the game with 3 1/3 one-hit innings.
"It happens. I stay optimistic. I'm not going to let it get to me," Roark said of the lack of run support. "I'm just going to pitch my game and give it all that I can until I'm out of the game. Stay optimistic."
That optimism should pay off soon, as the Nationals' lineup gets closer and closer to full strength.
HARPER OK AFTER BEING HIT BY PITCHES
The Nationals can breathe a sigh of relief for Harper, who exited the game in the eighth inning after being hit on the left foot with an errant pitch. Harper, who was hit by a pitch on his right elbow in the fifth, took a few steps up the first-base line before he turned, headed for the dugout and took himself out of the game. Although he said his toe felt numb, X-rays were negative and Harper expects to be in the lineup Wednesday.
"It just hurt," Harper said. "Trying to walk down the first-base line, there was no point." More >
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Michael A. Taylor made a tremendous sliding catch at the wall in right-center field to rob Neil Walker of extra bases to close out the fourth inning. Taylor ran 87 feet in 4.9 seconds for a three-star catch, according to Statcast™, to complete the kind of run-saving catch the Nats have come to expect from him. More >
The Nationals will promote right-hander Erick Fedde, the team's top pitching prospect, to start Wednesday against the Yankees. It will be Fedde's second start in the Majors this season as he fills the vacant rotation spot left by Stephen Strasburg, who landed on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation. Sonny Gray will start for New York, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET at Yankee Stadium.
Jamal Collier has covered the Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.