Dusty Baker took a deep breath and shook his head after sharing the news that Brian Goodwin left Game 1 of the doubleheader Sunday with tightness in his groin. He had not indicated the trouble was serious — more that it was too soon to tell — but Nationals outfielders have battled so many injuries that any trouble begets an immediate scramble for able-bodied fill-ins.
“They’re working on him now. They’re going to evaluate it,” Baker said. “Boy, it’s getting tough. I’m glad we’ve got bodies and quality players.”
Goodwin felt the tightness after stealing his sixth base of the season in the eighth inning of Game 1. He has been one of the pleasant surprises of this season, an emerging force that not only took over regular center field duties in Michael A. Taylor’s ( … and Adam Eaton’s) absence, but also solidified the decimated top of the Nationals order. He is hitting .251 with an .811 OPS and 13 home runs, fourth-most among Nationals not currently on the loaded disabled list.
If there is a positive to Goodwin’s tightness, it is the time. Michael A. Taylor returned from the disabled list Sunday to replace Bryce Harper, so the Nationals have another center fielder to slide back into position. Andrew Stevenson, who had the first multi-hit game of his career in Game 1, will start in right field. Howie Kendrick returns to start in left field. Kendrick has been battling back tightness, which has also limited Baker’s lineup options.
After resting many of his remaining healthy regulars in the first game, Baker will start almost everyone in the second. Ryan Zimmerman and Anthony Rendon will start their second games of the day. Matt Wieters and Daniel Murphy will play their first, though Murphy pinch hit in Game 1. That lineup will back Max Scherzer and a fresh bullpen, which was needed for only three innings of work in Game 1’s 4-2…