Nats-Braves LIVE game thread - 7:35 p.m.

772708.png

Nats-Braves LIVE game thread - 7:35 p.m.

GO TO THE LIVE GAME THREAD ON NATSINSIDER.COM

In his seemingly never-ending quest to find a competent left fielder -- not to mention a competent leadoff man -- Davey Johnson's roulette wheel has stopped on Steve Lombardozzi. The rookie infielder has made a strong case for himself, both at the plate (he's hitting .317 with a .385 on-base percentage) and in the field (he's made a couple of nice plays while learning the outfield on the fly).

So tonight, in the opener of perhaps their biggest series of the season to date, the Nationals will have Lombardozzi in left field and leading off for the third time in four games. It worked twice in Philadelphia; might as well give it a shot in Atlanta.

It'll take a strong offensive performance from the Nats' lineup, top to bottom, to beat Tim Hudson (owner of a 13-3 record and 2.09 ERA in his career against them). And it'll take a strong start from Ross Detwiler (who has allowed 10 earned runs over his last 10 innings).

Unfortunately, I'm not in Atlanta for this weekend showdown, but I will be in Miami starting Monday for the Nationals' first series at Marlins Park. Until then, enjoy the big game and the conversation...
WASHINGTON NATIONALS at ATLANTA BRAVES
Where: Turner Field
Gametime: 7:35 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 184
Weather: Partly cloudy, 86 degrees, Wind 1 mph in from RF

NATIONALS (26-18)
LF Steve Lombardozzi
RF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
CF Rick Ankiel
C Jesus Flores
LHP Ross Detwiler

BRAVES (26-20)
CF Michael Bourn
3B Martin Prado
1B Freddie Freeman
2B Dan Uggla
LF Matt Diaz
RF Jason Heyward
C David Ross
SS Jack Wilson
RHP Tim Hudson

UMPIRES
TBA

Quick Links

Impossible to probable? Draft day slide could land Redskins a steal

Impossible to probable? Draft day slide could land Redskins a steal

For months Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen was widely considered a lock to land in the top five of the 2017 NFL Draft. There was even some argument if Allen could not oust Myles Garrett from the overall No. 1 spot.

Now, just days before the NFL universe will gather in Philadelphia for Thursday's draft, it appears injury concerns could push Allen not just out of the Top 5, but out of the Top 10. 

And that could be great news for the Redskins.

Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com released his latest Mock Draft on Tuesday, and the personnel scout has Allen landing with Washington at the 17th pick. From NFL.com:

Allen could slide a little bit based on some medical concerns. He would be a steal at this point in the draft.

Allen at 17 represents an absolute steal. Many Redskins fans are optimistic that off-field red flags could send fellow Alabama defender Reuben Foster to the 'Skins at 17. For many weeks, Foster was projected to go in the Top 10, or at least the Top 15.

While Foster would be a great value for Washington, he will also enter the NFL in the substance abuse program after a diluted urine sample at the NFL Combine. That will give teams real pause, understandably.

Allen enters the league with no baggage, outside of possible issues with his shoulders, including possible concerns about arhtritis. With 22.5 sacks in his last two seasons at Bama, not to mention winning one national championship and playing for another, Allen has the exact pedigree teams dream of taking in the draft. The 'Bama big man has explained that doctors don't expect any issues with his shoulders for at least 15 years, likely well after his NFL career ends.

Add to that his 6-foot-3, 286 lbs. frame, Allen is the exact force the Redskins need to boost their defensive line. And not for nothing, he grew up about 10 minutes away from Redskins Park in Ashburn, so this would be a true homecoming story.

If Allen lasts to the 17th pick, the Redskins need to sprint - not jog, not run, sprint - to the podium and make the selection. It's rare that need and best player available sync up, but this could be that scenario. 

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

Quick Links

Karl Alzner on the mend, status for second round remains unclear

Karl Alzner on the mend, status for second round remains unclear

Karl Alzner on Tuesday handled his heaviest practice workload since getting hurt, but it remains unclear when the Caps’ defenseman will return to the lineup.

Alzner has been sidelined with an upper body injury since Game 2 against Toronto.

“He’s progressing [and is] day-to-day,” Coach Barry Trotz said. “When the trainers say, 'Go', then he’ll go.”

Alzner took part in contact drills, including penalty kill, signaling the next step in his recovery.

Asked if he anticipates Alzner stepping back into the lineup when he’s healthy, Trotz said: “Possibly. We’re not there yet so I’m gonna be vague to you.”

RELATED: Trotz reveals why Ovechkin missed the second half of practice

Alzner said he felt good after the hour-long practice. Asked if he expects to play right away, he said: “I think so, yeah. I didn’t really think about that...I hope so.”

Alzner, who has appeared in 540 consecutive regular season games, acknowledged that it’s been frustrating to be sidelined given what’s at stake.

“Yeah, not fun,” he said. “It’s very, very frustrating, especially at this point of the year. You can handle it a little more in the regular season, but to watch the guys go to battle and to have the feeling of beating a team, it’s unfortunate to miss that. At the same time, I know that in the long run, it’s the best thing for the team [and] clearly was the right choice.”

Alzner has been replaced in the lineup by Nate Schmidt, who has played well the past four games. In addition to being reliable in his own end, he’s registered a pair of assists. He’s also a team-best +5.  

If and when Alzner is healthy, it’s going to force Trotz and Co. to make a difficult decision. Do you take out Schmidt? Someone else? Or go with seven defensemen?

“He’s done that,” Trotz said about Schmidt putting the coaches in a tough spot. “He’s come in and he’s done a really good job. He’s such a good skater. We played a quick team and he fit in just perfectly with us. I thought he was making a statement, ‘Hey I'm gonna make it tough to take me out of the lineup.”

Check out the latest edition of the Capitals Faceoff Podcast and subscribe on Apple podcastsAudioboom and Google Play!