Today is one of those games that on paper looks to be an easy “W” for the Mets with their Ace of their depleted staff, Noah Syndergaard, going against Nats’ rookie call-up A.J. Cole. In an adapted quote, “You play the games because you never know” is what teams do. The Nationals take their 9.5 game lead into CitiField tonight for this one, and if Mother Nature cooperates this will go one of two ways, the Nats will find themselves either with an 8.5 game lead in the NL East or a 10.5 game in the NL East when the game ends. The Magic Number will either remain at 20 or move simultaneously 2 spots to 18 games with a Nationals win.
There are additional Nats reserves in New York today in the first wave of call-ups to bolster the Nationals roster as they are now in the September call-up period. We are hearing Brian Goodwin and Pedro Severino will be in the call-ups for today’s game. Dusty Baker will also get some bullpen arms, and this is where it gets complicated as Mat Latos and Sean Burnett could be two of the arms added to the roster today, but neither of them are on the 40-man roster which is a requirement. For either of them to be added, Mike Rizzo will need to remove a player off of the 40-man roster—And that is easier said than done. Behind the scenes, Rizzo might have already tried to pass players through waivers like he did with Taylor Hill, but was unsuccessful with Abel De Los Santos.
UPDATED: Rafael Martin, Matt Grace and Trevor Gott all added to the Nats roster (along with Severino and Goodwin as we previously reported) and to make room for Burnett and Latos (also previously reported) the Nats DFA’d Matt den Dekker and made a procedural move to transfer Joe Ross to the 60 day DL which means one additional move will be needed when Ross is activated.
In about 2 to 3 hours, we will start seeing teams across the Major Leagues making moves since 22 teams did not play yesterday negating the need to make moves right on September 1st which of course was the first day of roster expansions. Roster expansion usually comes over several days as the Minor League season has not ended yet.
Mike Rizzo and Dusty Baker also have the ability to add several starters to the Nationals roster whereby Dusty could pitch some bullpen games and save the innings using combinations of Joe Ross, Reynaldo Lopez, Lucas Giolito, and Mat Latos. Plus the Nationals should have Stephen Strasburg back early next week.
Our suggestion is to use the roster expansion as a way to ration the innings for Max Scherzer who pitched 220 1/3 inning for his 2014 Tigers team, and the reigning Cy Young winner went into the 2014 post-season fatigued and gave up 5 runs in the 1st game of the ALDS and lost. Scherzer leads the Majors right now in most innings pitched at 190 currently. The right number should be to keep him near 200 innings but no more than 210 innings.
Back to today’s match-ups, do you start Ben Revere and Clint Robinson or stick with the Wednesday line-up?
Here are you Nats’ stats against Syndergaard:
When in New York, Nats players get to stop by the MLB Network studio in Secaucus, New Jersey, and today it was Danny Espinosa who got a chance.
Washington Nationals and New York Mets
Stadium: CitiField, Queens, NY
1st Pitch: 7:10 pm EDT
TV: MASN2, WUSA9, SNY , MLB.tv
Line-ups (subject to change without notice):
- Trea Turner CF
- Jayson Werth LF
- Daniel Murphy 2B
- Bryce Harper RF
- Anthony Rendon 3B
- Wilson Ramos C
- Clint Robinson 1B
- Danny Espinosa SS
- A.J. Cole RHP