The Nationals know they’re going to be without Bryce Harper — who had surgery today to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb — for the next two months or so. Tonight, we begin to find out how they deal with the prolonged loss of one of their key regulars.
Who replaces Harper in left field? Well, tonight it’s Kevin Frandsen. But that’s in part due to the fact the Nationals are playing in Houston, now an AL club, and thus need a designated hitter. That will be Jayson Werth, who hasn’t looked great in right field the last week or two, perhaps still dealing with a nagging groin injury. So Nate McLouth gets the start in right field, opening up left field for Frandsen.
Gio Gonzalez, meanwhile, takes the ball for the Nationals. Aside from one wretched start in Atlanta, the left-hander has been fantastic so far this season, posting a 1.50 ERA in four other outings.