Nationals Arm Race

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

The Nats finally win a loser-goes-home Game!


Nats first ever playoff clinching win!  Photo via

Nats first ever playoff clinching win! Photo via

Davey Martinez‘ moves all worked out.  He started Max Scherzer, he got 3 wipe-out innings from Stephen Strasburg in relief (his first relief appearance as a pro), he got contributions from both the guys he picked to start (Kendrick and Cabrera) and the guys he used as pinch hitters (Taylor and Zimmerman).  He got a homer from one of his marquee players (Turner) and he got the game-winning hit from his star-in-the-making (Soto).

I can’t quite believe it.  I was dismayed when the team went down 2-0 five minutes into the game.  I pretty much gave up when our 2-3-4 hitters went down meekly in the 6th.

Bravo to the team, bravo to fans.

Is this new #1 best ever Nats game?   Here’s my current top 5:

  1. Werth walkoff, 2012 NLDS game 4
  2. First ever home game, Apr 2005
  3. Nats park opener, apr 2008
  4. Lobaton homer/NLDS game 2 come back win
  5. Zimmermann no-hitter to close 2014 reg season

Does this game supplant Werth walkoff?

We’ll post next once we see how the NLDS schedule shakes out.  I wonder how many days rest our two big arms need?


Written by Todd Boss

October 2nd, 2019 at 10:53 am

11 Responses to 'The Nats finally win a loser-goes-home Game!'

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  1. The starter rest is a BIG question. If Stras can go in Gm 2, he would be available for Gm 5. That would give us Corbin/Stras/Max/Corbin/Stras, probably against Kershaw/Buehler/Ryu/Kershaw/Buehler. Sanchez could be available as a long man in relief. He set down something like 19 straight Dodgers the last time the Nats faced them. And the Nats bombed Buehler (7 runs [4 earned] in 5.1 IP).

    If Stras can’t go on Friday, it’s probably Corbin/Sanchez/Max/Stras/Corbin. However, . . . if the Nats win on Thursday and Sanchez keeps them in the game on Friday but only goes 5 IP, would Davey be tempted to use Stras in relief again and try to steal the series early? If he did that, Stras probably could still start Gm 5 if it goes that far.


    2 Oct 19 at 11:29 am

  2. Yes, for me, this is the new #1 game . . . at least until they do something to top it and advance in the next round. The Werth game was crazy-good, and not just because of the walk-off, but ultimately it didn’t result in them winning anything. A Washington baseball team hadn’t won a postseason match-up to advance since 1924! And the Expos/Nats franchise never had.


    2 Oct 19 at 11:32 am

  3. So, game 2 is friday. Can strasburg start a game 2 on friday after throwing 3 innings tuesday? that’s 2 days rest. And i don’t think Scherzer can go either after throwing 5.

    I’m thinking it’ll be Sanchez in game 2 friday honestly.

    Todd Boss

    2 Oct 19 at 11:38 am

  4. A couple of bits from the Brewer side:

    — There shouldn’t be much criticism of Grisham. Say what you will about how he HAS to stop that ball, but in that moment, nearly every OF in the world is going to be charging the ball and susceptible to the bad hop. If there was a miscalculation, it was him not knowing Stevenson’s speed and therefore thinking he has a chance to get him with him already running with two outs. But in that moment, with the crowd roaring, he’s probably still charging that ball.

    Plus even if Grisham does make the scoop, the score is tied and Kendrick is facing a flustered and overtaxed Hader. Even if he gets Kendrick, Hader probably doesn’t have enough in the tank for the 9th, and Suzuki walks them off.

    — If a team gets only one challenge, hold it to ONE challenge. Counsell made a strategically questionable decision to challenge the Dozier play, which looked safe all the way. He lost that challenge. He didn’t have any more. So tell him to pound sand when he makes the fuss about the HBP. He didn’t save his challenge, so he didn’t have one.

    Yes, it’s good to get things “right,” but if you make a rule about the number of challenges, don’t so easily override that rule. (Dave Roberts is also notorious for begging for multiple challenges, so this likely isn’t the last we’ve seen of this practice.)


    2 Oct 19 at 11:51 am

  5. Stras threw 34 pitches. I don’t know how many they throw in their “side sessions” between starts. It’s at the borderline, probably.

    If Stras can’t go on Friday, do you give him Gm 3 over Max so he could also come back in relief in Gm 5 if need be? Based on the SSS of one apiece, Stras > Max in playoff fireman appearances.


    2 Oct 19 at 11:57 am

  6. Grisham play; at worst the game was tied even if he makes that play; Soto would be at 2nd since he’d have thrown home. To me, it looked like he got a bad hop indeed.

    I think the Milwaukee blame was on their reliever, who couldn’t find the plate.

    I thought the hbp was hand-then-bat. I only watched it a couple times though.

    34 pitches …. yeah i think Strasburg could start friday. 3 innings sounds worse than 34 pitches.

    Todd Boss

    2 Oct 19 at 1:09 pm

  7. FWIW:

    Corbin vs. LAD, 2018 (4 gms): .125/.213/.213
    Corbin vs. LAD, 2019 (1 gm): .136/.296/.136
    Stras vs. LAD, 2019 (2 gms): .140/.208/.209

    Those may be the two starters anywhere who the Dodgers least want to face.


    2 Oct 19 at 1:37 pm

  8. Game ranking; excitement level this is #2 after the Werth game but #1 in importance.

    Can’t wait to see what this team can do next. No more choking at least as in times past.

    For all of you who subscribe to the Athletic, Joe Posnanski has written one of the all-time great baseball articles on yesterday’s game. Must-read for the ages.

    Mark L

    2 Oct 19 at 4:43 pm

  9. Let me say up front that the Dodgers are a really good team. There’s nothing fluky about winning 106, even if one can note that the NL West was probably the weakest of the three NL divisions. They have three guys with 35+ HRs, including the possible MVP with 47.

    But . . . the Nats have the same record as the Dodgers since 5/23. The Dodgers have led their division by 9+ games since 6/1 so have played no truly meaningful games in months. Kershaw and Ryu have scuffled for the last couple of months, and Jansen isn’t nearly as dominant as he was a couple of years ago.

    The Nats, meanwhile, just got a huge monkey off their backs. They’ve been playing “meaningful” games basically since May, and certainly all the way down the stretch. Stras is peaking, and Corbin is a noted Dodger killer.

    Perhaps most importantly, the Nats are now the underdogs. They’re playing with house money. The weight of expectations is on the Dodgers, not them. They’re opening on the road, where all they need to do is “steal” one win to be in the driver’s seat.

    We’ll see. I’m still curious whether Stras will be up for Gm 2. Davey hasn’t ruled it out. My guess would be that if they win Gm 1, they’ll go with Sanchez in Gm 2, but if they lose Gm 1, they’ll put Stras out there as the stopper. If Sanchez does start Gm 2, then you’ve got the second round of Stras vs. Max as best option to start Gm 3.

    Nats in four.


    3 Oct 19 at 9:18 am

  10. markL: i’m having a separate argument about where this game ranks with two superfans. they both say #1 just because it was a “win” in a do or die game. I think i like the way you put it a lot: ” excitement level this is #2 after the Werth game but #1 in importance.”

    when I re-post my “greatest nats games” this off season we can argue about it more then 🙂 is the Posnanski article.

    Todd Boss

    3 Oct 19 at 10:29 am

  11. new posted on the Nats-dodgers series.

    Todd Boss

    3 Oct 19 at 10:37 am

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