On a night where the Dodgers fell to the Washington Nationals 4-2 and the NLDS tied at 1-1, a finger could be pointed at a number of moments where things didn’t go LA’s way. All game long Nats ace Stephen Strasburg got into and out of various levels of trouble only to escape. At the end of his night, he outdueled Clayton Kershaw 1 earned run to 3.
Recognizing the weight of a win on the road in a short series, Washington manager Dave Martinez played all of his cards… including calling on game 3 starter Max Scherzer for 1 shutdown inning in the 8th.
On the move, LA manager Dave Roberts admitted he was surprised to see Mad Max.
— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) October 5, 2019
Yeah, we weren’t expecting that. Obviously it’s a big game for them to play for the split in the series on the road… yeah, I was surprised.
It’s easy to be surprised when you know that Scherzer had tossed 77 pitches over 5 innings just 3 days prior. It was only the 35 year-old’s 4th postseason relief appearance in 18 games. In previous attempts, he had allowed 4 earned runs in 4 innings pitched.
Where it’s more surprising is that Scherzer is still expected to start on Sunday in Washington against Dodger lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu. As Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post notes, this could in fact be the Nats strategy for the postseason, not just a desperate need to pick up a game on the road at Dodger Stadium.
Max Scherzer in now for the eight inning. The Nationals' new strategy is to have their starters throw relief appearances inside of bullpen sessions. Hold on.
— Jesse Dougherty (@dougherty_jesse) October 5, 2019
Of course with the Nats bullpen (4.41 ERA in 473.2 IP) it may actually be more out of necessity over a need to get side work in for their starters.