The Nationals braintrust convened this afternoon to finalize their Wild Card roster, and manager Dave Martinez said it would be completed tonight. The Brewers are saying that Ryan Braun will be in their starting lineup, but they are not saying much beyond that except for Lorenzo Cain will be a game-time decision. The Wild Card roster for the winner can be redone for the NLDS so you can balance the Wild Card roster for one game only while your NLDS roster has to be engineered for possibly a five game series.
The more intriguing part is the Nats starting lineup as to whether the red-hot Gerardo Parra finds his way into the starting lineup as well as Asdrubal Cabrera and Howie Kendrick. Conventional wisdom is to go with Victor Robles in the starting lineup, but consider that Parra went 8-12 with 11 RBIs in the last four games.
First pitch weather at 8:08 pm is supposed to be a clear sky and 79°F with 67% humidity and by mid-game the temps should only get slightly cooler. Aaron Barrett is supposed to throw out the ceremonial first pitch and the team is encouraging everyone to wear red.
“I watched Max pitch his last few outings,” Martinez said. “He built up his pitch count. He felt good every outing. We watched his bullpens to monitor him. He felt good. The other day he threw an unbelievable bullpen, one of the better ones I’ve seen. He’s ready to go. We’re fortunate to have a Max Scherzer pitch in the Wild Card game.”
Strasburg was a closer in his freshman season at San Diego State. In a flashback to the 2012 postseason, why wasn’t Strasburg put into that bullpen like we saw with Jordan Zimmermann for Game #4 of that NLDS against the Cardinals. It was probably the most electric postseason relief appearance we have ever seen by a Nats pitcher.
“We discussed it before our latest day-off because we set up our rotation this way,” general manager Mike Rizzo said. “We’ve got Max on plenty of rest. We’ve got Stras on full rest. We’ve got Corbin available on short rest, and Anibal Sanchez so we’re loaded and ready to compete tomorrow. Max is a guy that thrives on big games.”
As we all know, this Wild Card game is an elimination game, and that makes almost everything a raised level of importance and significance.