- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 10, 2017

Veteran players were still trickling into the clubhouse around 11 a.m. Sunday. The crew that will be on the field was there earlier and bouncing around.

Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker filled his lineup with the club’s young players to give his older ones a break with 20 games remaining in the regular season and an off day coming Monday. Though Stephen Strasburg is pitching and the Nationals could clinch the National League East Division title Sunday afternoon against the Philadelphia Phillies — the Nationals need to win and have Miami lose — the Nationals will roll out a lineup that would be more fitting for spring training in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Trea Turner is the only regular in the lineup. He is leading off. Turner needs as many at-bats as possible before the postseason arrives. He’s had just 45 at-bats since returning from the disabled list Aug. 29. Turner is hitting .235 in September, though contended the other day that he’s felt good since coming off the disabled following a wrist fracture.

The rest of the lineup looks like this:

2. Adrian Sanchez

3. Wilmer Difo

4. Adam Lind

5. Victor Robles

6. Andrew Stevenson

7. Pedro Severino

8. Rafael Bautista

9. Stephen Strasburg

This will be the first start for Washington’s top prospect, Victor Robles.

Strasburg has a personal streak on the line: he’s thrown a Washington franchise-record 26 consecutive scoreless innings. That is the longest current streak in the major leagues. His ERA in July was 1.89. In August 0.86. He pitched six scoreless innings in his lone September start.

Miami is at Atlanta for a 1:35 p.m. start. Plastic is rolled up and hanging above the Nationals’ lockers. A temporary rug has been taped to the cover the floor. They are prepared for a celebration. They just need two results to go their way Sunday.

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