Nationals Arm Race

"… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver

Nats NLDS Roster Announced; who made it, who didn’t


Strasburg gets the Game 1 nod. Photo unk via

Strasburg gets the Game 1 nod. Photo unk via

After two posts (here and here) and multiple discussions about the edges of the roster, the team announced its NLDS roster.  Here’s who made it and who didn’t.

SPs: Strasburg, Gonzalez, Scherzer, Roark.

We don’t know what order it’ll go, but we do know Stras goes tonight.   I’m guessing it goes Gio then Scherzer to give him a bit more time.

RPs:  Doolittle*, Madsen, Kintzler, Albers, Perez*,  Romero*,  Solis*

So, no Kelley (which we knew when he got bumped to the 60-day D/L), but more interestingly no Edwin Jackson or Matt Grace, his two best long-man options.  And contrary to typical playoff construction, he’s using the 5th starter spot not on another arm, but on a bench bat.  Perhaps their thought process is, if Scherzer can’t go they’ll get an injury replacement?

Starters: Turner, Harper, Zimmerman, Murphy, Rendon, Werth, Wieters, Taylor 

No surprises here.

Bench: Lobaton, Lind, Kendrick, Difo, Robles, Goodwin

So, they resisted the temptation to take Severino over Lobaton, or to give Drew a spot.  But interestingly they are going to carry Goodwin, who hasn’t played in weeks really.  And we get Robles.  And we do not have de Aza, which many were worried about.  So this is a pretty solid selection all things considered.



Written by Todd Boss

October 6th, 2017 at 11:14 am

33 Responses to 'Nats NLDS Roster Announced; who made it, who didn’t'

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  1. I’ll move my illustration of Romero’s reverse splits forward from the last post:

    Enny vs. RHB, 2017: .230/.308/.374
    Enny vs. LHB, 2017: .295/.371/.462

    Enny vs. RHB, Career: .229/.315/.357
    Enny vs. LHB, Career: .313/.392/.469


    6 Oct 17 at 11:19 am

  2. yeah saw that. Maybe the Nats are counting on all their starters to go 6-7 innings and use the lawfirm to close every game out, leaving all the other relievers as cheerleaders.

    Todd Boss

    6 Oct 17 at 11:22 am

  3. I think the alternative to Robles was probably more Severino than it was De Aza with Goodwin back. Glad to see Goodwin back, by the way. I hope we’ll be seeing him in LF defensively for the last couple of innings per game if the Nats have the lead.

    I’m curious about what role they have outlined for Robles. He could pinch-runner, but he’s also been susceptible to being picked off. It’s not just the pitchers; Contreras will throw behind runners. Robles, Trea, and others will have had a week of Davey Lopes breaking all of this down for them in detail, though.

    I think the addition of an extra bat to the bench is also a recognition that Lobaton shouldn’t bat unless in extreme emergency. I do imagine they’ll be looking to pinch-runner for Wieters late if he actually makes it on base, though.

    As for Romero, he was very good in three appearances against the Cubs in June, other than giving up a solo HR to Rizzo. (Bad news facing LHB!)

    Really, the hope would be that we’re not seeing much of Enny or Ollie. Get at least six from the starters, then go Albers/Madson/Doolittle. Albers is better than Kintzler right now. Solis is probably the situational lefty you would want against Rizzo.


    6 Oct 17 at 11:31 am

  4. Posting at the same time, with same thought: get six or seven from the starters and hope we don’t see much of half the ‘pen. That’s probably the plan when Stras and Max pitch, although with Max dinged, you never know.

    I imagine Dusty might be very quick with the hook for Gio and Tanner, though. If you go for a “bullpen game,” Solis would be my first call to go two innings. I’ve got a lot more confidence in him right now than I do Perez or Romero. I think you’d try to get a couple of innings from Solis and a couple from Albers.


    6 Oct 17 at 11:35 am

  5. Just checking some stats. Solis pitched in all five playoff games against the Dodgers last year, giving up only one run. Obviously Dusty trusts him on the big stage.


    6 Oct 17 at 11:39 am

  6. I wonder if Solis’ usage against LAD wasn’t based on their lineup … we didn’t really have the “firm” last year like we did this year. But yeah understood.

    Todd Boss

    6 Oct 17 at 12:47 pm

  7. I think Dusty will have no problem trusting the 8th the Madson and the 9th to Doolittle. I’m curious about the 7th, though. Does it “belong” to Kintzler? Would he consider Albers as an alternative? (Albers is significantly better against RHB than Kintzler is.) Or does he go matchup for the 7th? It all may depend on what part of the lineup is up.

    Let’s get some 4- and 5-run leads and not worry about it!


    6 Oct 17 at 12:54 pm

  8. Lets have all our starters go 7ip, give up 1 run on 3 hits, and then have bullpen. That’s what I want to see.

    Todd Boss

    6 Oct 17 at 2:05 pm

  9. I heard a stat that the Nats have lost like their last 6 post season games by one run? Looked it up:
    – 2016 NLDS game 5: lost 4-3
    – 2016 NLDS game 4: lost 6-5
    – 2016 NLDS game 1: 4-3
    – 2014 NLDS game 4: 3-2
    – 2014 NLDS game 2: 2-1
    – 2014 NLDS game 1: 3-2


    Todd Boss

    6 Oct 17 at 2:12 pm

  10. All the more reason to be pissed about 2014. We got enough pitching; the hitters let them down. And yeah, that second game was actually two games worth of innings, with only one run. So that’s 36 innings while only scoring five runs total.

    Last year, Game 4 killed them. They scored five runs off Kershaw but didn’t have enough pitching to finish off the series.


    6 Oct 17 at 2:47 pm

  11. Just got MLB notification of announced lineup. Big fan of what Dusty is doing. Instead of shoe-horning Werth to #2 he’s put harper there.
    – Turner, Harper, Rendon, Murphy, Zimmerman, Werth, Wieters, Taylor.

    good balance in this lineup, your better hitters are up top. Maybe you quibble with Rendon at #3 since we knwo #3 is slightly less important than #2 or #4.

    Todd Boss

    6 Oct 17 at 3:30 pm

  12. .. and got word that Gio goes game 2, Scherzer game 3. I think that’s good actually; Gio is much better at home.

    Todd Boss

    6 Oct 17 at 3:36 pm

  13. Yes, having Harper at #2 helps in a number of ways. First of all, there’s less pressure on him to be a “power” guy. He just needs to make good contact. He’ll be seeing plenty of fastballs if Trea gets on. Also, having Rendon at #3 takes some of the pressure off of Zim. Maybe they walk Murph to get to Zim — a big possibility — but if they do, they may be putting a second or third guy on base to do so. Zim’s success level will be a key.

    There’s not a weak link 1-5. The bottom of the order is what it is. Anything from that trio will be a bonus.

    Let’s get it on!

    And wow, Yanks rocking CLE in Game 2. That series suddenly got interesting.


    6 Oct 17 at 7:38 pm

  14. What a gutless performance by the Nats in Game 1 by everyone but Stras. Tight, tight, tight, and playing right into Hendricks’s hands by swinging at his junk. Just an awful performance by the hitters.


    6 Oct 17 at 10:43 pm

  15. Yes Gutless Unwatchable ab’s. Playoff Deja vu with the bats for us.

    Scary setup now with Gio as #2. Need him to perform but hard to win if you don’t score a run.

    Marty C

    6 Oct 17 at 11:13 pm

  16. Kershaw gives up FOUR homers but the Dodgers win easily. Kluber get clocked but the Indians come from six down to win. Meanwhile, the Nats sit there picking their noses and get nothing. Just an embarrassing waste of a well-pitched game.

    I won’t beat Rendon up too much on the “error” on the “fair” ball, but it also appeared that he didn’t exactly play it at full speed or “play through the whistle.” That was the runner who scored the first run. The one who scored the second one wouldn’t have been in scoring position if Harper hadn’t overthrown the cutoff man. I’m a big Harper fan, but that’s a problem he’s had for six years that no one has fixed, and it cost us a crucial run. Harper claims he was trying to hit Murphy and just threw too high. Whatever. The problem is that in gut-check moments, he and Rendon didn’t execute.

    Sigh. Perhaps if Murphy’s liner gets past Rizzo in the first inning, the Nats get a lead and play looser. But they didn’t get a lead, and they didn’t get a hit off Hendricks after the second. Yes, he was getting some calls on the edges, but the Nats were taking fat pitches and flailing at sucker ones.

    It’s all terribly frustrating to watch, year after year after year. From a Mark Zuckerman tweet: “Stephen Strasburg, Max Scherzer and Jordan Zimmermann have a 2.95 ERA in 6 postseason starts with #Nats. Team is 0-6 in those games.”

    But today’s a new day, right?


    7 Oct 17 at 9:10 am

  17. Well this has been my problem with Rendon and somewhat Zimm for years. The steady pulse rate may play during the long regular season, but you need some guys who are jacked up for the playoffs.

    Both those guys looked asleep before during and after the game. That’s maybe why you spend the big money on Harper instead of Rendon.

    Marty C

    7 Oct 17 at 2:29 pm

  18. Tough to single out Rendon; he hadn’t made an error since mid July. Sh*t happens. They got 2 hits against a guy who was nearly a Cy Young winner last year and who was solid in the 2nd half. This is playoff baseball. Hopefully today they get the untimely error and get the dominant pitching performance.

    Todd Boss

    7 Oct 17 at 2:55 pm

  19. The hard part I have with criticizing a guy like Rendon for not being “jacked up” is that it is entirely narrative driven. His demeanor plays into whatever pre-conceived ideas fit the opinion you’re trying to make.
    – IF he fails its because he’s too lackadasical, too casual.
    – If he succeeds, its because he’s calm and collected.

    Stick to the stats. Its one game. That ball that he booted may have been foul and he may have booted it b/c he let his concentration wane as he thought it was foul. Un-reviewable of course. But you have to hand it to Kendrick; he looked solid. Lets hope we get the strugglign Lester tonight and even it uip.

    Todd Boss

    7 Oct 17 at 3:50 pm

  20. … And Rendon turns around and hits it out. In fact, he remains responsible for the sole run generated by this offense as of this writing (8th inning, game 2)

    Todd Boss

    7 Oct 17 at 8:23 pm

  21. should have waited 10 minutes; Harper just destroyed a HR. yes!

    Saw a stat; Harper is only batting .213 in the post season. But with 4 homers, now 5. Slugging above 800 despite hitting near 200.

    Todd Boss

    7 Oct 17 at 8:35 pm

  22. HELL YEAH!!!!!


    7 Oct 17 at 8:54 pm

  23. I’ve said multiple times that the Cub weak link is getting to Davis. I’ve also said that we own Carl Edwards.

    My, how the series changed in one inning. And we’ve got Max going on Monday.


    7 Oct 17 at 8:57 pm

  24. I think you’re going to have to update your list of all-time great Nat games.


    7 Oct 17 at 9:03 pm

  25. How flippin’ great was that!

    I am almost didn’t see it. We were out through about the 7th inning. I get home, see the 3-1 score and endless replays of Turner striking out with the bases loaded, and got so aggravated I almost said ‘screw it’.

    And then I’m cursing Dusty cause I wanted him to pinch bit Lind for Taylor the inning before.

    Maybe this is the worm turning.

    Man, do I dislike Joe Maddon. Makes it even better


    7 Oct 17 at 9:04 pm

  26. There’s nothing better to stick it to Maddon than to have Zim stick the dagger in him. In fact, he was dissing Zim to leave the lefty in to face him.


    7 Oct 17 at 9:12 pm

  27. Yeah, completely agree with that. I didn’t think about leaving the lefty in, but you’re right. I couldn’t blame Zim if he flipped him the bird on the way home.


    7 Oct 17 at 9:16 pm

  28. I’d like to see Srvluga write a Zim/Cubs article now.


    7 Oct 17 at 9:17 pm

  29. Maddon also made a mistake by not having a more athletic left-fielder late with a lead. A guy with some hops might have caught Zim’s drive. Zobrist only got about a foot off the ground.


    7 Oct 17 at 9:32 pm

  30. I just watched a replay, and Zobrist didn’t leave the ground at all. He misjudged where the wall was. Not that I’m complaining!


    7 Oct 17 at 10:11 pm

  31. Lots of commentators noting that Joe the Genius went to the lefty AFTER Bryce launched against Carls Jr. Then he left the lefty in against Zim. Thank you, Mr. Genius.

    I hate the Cubs and their smugness. Time to shove it in their faces.


    7 Oct 17 at 10:30 pm

  32. Also, the Nat bullpen was spectacular.


    7 Oct 17 at 11:03 pm

  33. new posted

    Todd Boss

    8 Oct 17 at 9:19 am

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