In the best-of-five series, the second game of the series has to be a must-win situation for the team that comes in with the 0-1 record. Today it is the Nationals with a must-win situation. The weather will be a factor today, and the game looks like it will not start at the scheduled 4:08pm first-pitch.
Today’s scheduled starters are Tanner Roark and Rich Hill who was a Syracuse Chief for 117 days in 2015, and the Nats released him in the middle of the 2015 season.
Hill is a crafty lefty with a wipe-out curveball who the A’s traded to the Dodgers with Josh Reddick on the last day of this year’s non-waiver trade deadline on August 1st.
Roark and the Dodgers have some history, and on June 21st of this season Roark had a 2-0 lead at the end of 7 innings. Dusty Baker did not pinch-hit for Roark with two men on base, and a pitch count just under 90 pitches. Roark in the top of the 8th walked Joc Pederson, gave up a single to Yasiel Puig, and a three-run HR to Grandal. A shutout turned into a hard luck 3-2 loss.
Here are the Nationals’ stats against Hill:
Dusty Baker on setting his line-up today once again left Danny Espinosa in the 7 spot in the batting order and was grilled by Jon Heyman in the pre-game presser (see below). Dusty also did a 180° turn on not using Jose Lobaton against left-handed pitchers as Dusty said two days ago that Lobaton has a sore ankle affecting his right-handed swing which is why Dusty went with Pedro Severino yesterday which worked well yesterday as Severino hit a double and also hit a ball up the middle and reached on an error. Dusty’s reasoning on using Lobaton, Dusty responded, “He’s 3-3 against Rich Hill”. Okay then, and we find out what Dusty thinks about sore ankles and miniscule sample sizes. For those who criticize sample sizes all the time, what do you say about that?
“Well, who else do I have?” Dusty Baker said in a rattled response to the question of why he is starting the struggling Danny Espinosa. “That’s my answer. I mean, you can give me somebody better, then I can play somebody instead of him. You know, certain times you have certain people on your team, and that’s what you’ve got. My job is to hopefully get the most out of them and make them better.”
Dusty Baker’s response could be analyzed in so many ways to get to the crux of the issue, and this late in the season it is difficult to “make them better”. Let’s be real about that point. As they say, you are who your baseball card says you are with as many years as Danny Espinosa has in professional baseball.
“It’s not the first time this has happened this year,” Dusty Baker last night responded to Espinosa’s three crucial strikeouts last night of which all were with runners-in-scoring-position. “But then Espinosa can turn around and hit the next pitch out of the ballpark. That’s what’s kind of frustrating when you don’t know. He was swinging at balls, you know, out of the zone, and then balls in the zone he wasn’t catching up to it. His swing was long tonight.”
Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers
Stadium: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
1st Pitch: 4:08 pm EDT
TV: Fox Sports FSI, MLB Network, MLB.TV
Line-ups (subject to change without notice):