Dusty Baker has until 3PM on Friday to turn in his playoff roster and don’t expect him to announce too much before Thursday. We know that Max Scherzer will be the Game 1 starter.
Stephen Strasburg will not be on the NLDS roster, but Mike Rizzo will not rule him out if the Nationals can win this series. Strasburg has been pain-free in his pitching progression as he has moved to 120 feet in his throwing program. The next step for Strasburg is throwing off of the mound where he would throw a couple of bullpen sessions and then stretch him out to maybe some live BP or a simulated game and then after that we will see how Strasburg does.
“If [Strasburg] is able to pitch and ready to pitch we will certainly pitch him,” Mike Rizzo said on 106.7 The Fan radio.
Here is the Nationals career results against Clayton Kershaw:
Based on the statistics, you would play Michael Taylor and sit Bryce Harper against Clayton Kershaw, but that is not going to happen. Could Mike Taylor play centerfield and Trea Turner at shortstop? Don’t expect it. Dusty Baker just is not a manager who is full of surprises, and small sample sizes are generally worthless.
The way to beat Kershaw is stringing together hits. He only gives up 1 home run every two games which makes the long-ball a low probability, and his walk rate was the best of his career this season. You have to take advantage of small ball on Kershaw. His K rate is just slightly over one per inning, and you have to take advantage of BABIP. Put the ball in play and see what happens.
This is one guess for the NLDS Game 1 line-up:
- Trea Turner CF
- Jayson Werth LF
- Daniel Murphy 2B
- Anthony Rendon 3B
- Bryce Harper RF
- Ryan Zimmerman 1B
- Pedro Severino C
- Danny Espinosa SS
- Max Scherzer RHP
There are not many players out there who hit Clayton Kershaw well. The batting averages that will emerge might not look great, and if there is a productive out needed, you do it.
“Nothing matters for the season anymore,” Bryce Harper said. “That’s how it is. That’s how the postseason works. It doesn’t matter what you did during the season, what your numbers were or how you did…The postseason is a different animal. It’s a different place.”
When Bryce Harper went to the 2014 NLDS, he was the star of the series. It was a break-out post-season for Harper, but he did not have a great regular season in 2014. He batted .273 and only had a .768 OPS which was the worst season of his career. In the 2014 post-season, Harper bashed 3 home runs and had a 1.251 OPS.
The key is going to be multiple players stepping up. Who those players are is anyone’s guess, and that is why we play the games.