In making no effort to re-sign free agent Adam LaRoche the Nationals signaled that first base is Ryan Zimmerman’s new full-time position after shoulder problems forced a move for the former Gold Glove third baseman.
Nationals manager Matt Williams, who played 17 seasons as a third baseman and logged just 106 career innings at first base, told Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com that he’s “pretty confident” Zimmerman will fare well across the diamond because “he’s an athlete … he can do it.”
Zimmerman said he plans to put in a lot of work at first base during spring training after getting only a crash course there previously:
That’s going to take a lot of work. Everyone thinks you just go over to first base and kind of hide him there, but it’s a tough position. There’s a lot of things I have to learn, but I’m looking forward to the challenge.
Zimmerman has five years and $74 million remaining on his contract and the Nationals’ outfield is set with Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth flanking Denard Span, so one way or another it’ll work for him at first base.
Things haven’t gone quite according to plan for the Astros, who missed the opportunity to clinch the American League Championship Series after losing 4-1 to the Yankees in Game 5 on Friday. Still just one win away from a World Series invitation, they’ll try their luck again on Saturday night.
Neither lineup has been significantly altered for Game 6. The Yankees will try to push the series to a final Game 7 with right-hander Chad Green, backed by this configuration:
1. DJ LeMahieu (R) 1B
2. Aaron Judge (R) RF
3. Gleyber Torres (R) 2B
4. Aaron Hicks (S) CF
5. Edwin Encarnación (R) DH
6. Didi Gregorius (L) SS
7. Gary Sánchez (R) C
8. Gio Urshela (R) 3B
9. Brett Gardner (L) LF
The Astros, meanwhile, will send Brad Peacock to the mound in what figures to be a bullpen game for both sides, marking the righty’s first official postseason start since the 2017 ALDS. Martín Maldonado is back in the lineup, as is Josh Reddick, while both Robinson Chirinos and Jack Marisnick will be available off the bench.
1. George Springer (R) CF
2. José Altuve (R) 2B
3. Michael Brantley (L) LF
4. Alex Bregman (R) 3B
5. Yuli Gurriel (R) 1B
6. Carlos Correa (R) SS
7. Yordan Álvarez (L) DH
8. Martín Maldonado (R) C
9. Josh Reddick (L) RF
Starting tonight, the ALCS returns to Houston for Game 6 and a potential Game 7. Game time is set for 8:08 PM EDT.