In his weekly appearance this afternoon on 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s Grant and Danny Show with hosts Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier, Washington Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo talked about the San Francisco Giants and Pittsburgh Pirates as a potential NLDS opponents before the Giants were able to win the NL Wild Card Game in PNC Park, 8-0.
"They both bring different issues and different challenges," Rizzo said.
The Giants, "...bring you the experience and knowing how to win and win big games," he said of the franchise that's won two World Series Championships in the last five years with some of the cast that's now headed to D.C. for Game 1 of the NLDS on Friday.
"I don't put anything past Bruce Bochy and that group of guys led by [Buster] Posey and "Panda" [Pablo Sandoval] and [Brandon] Crawford at shortstop," Rizzo said. "They're an incredibly versatile bunch and they know how to win games. They run big-time starters at you and a bullpen that is very under-the-radar, but very effective."
Madison Bumgarner did all the work for the Giants on Wednesday night, throwing a complete game shutout against the Pirates in which he allowed four hits and a walk while striking out ten.
Jake Peavy is rumored to be San Francisco's Game 1 starter on Friday, with most of the speculation in the nation's capital focused on Stephen Strasburg taking the ball for the Nationals in the series opener.
Strasburg faced the Giants back on August 24th in the nation's capital and it didn't go well for the 26-year-old right-hander that day as he gave up eight hits, two walks and five runs all earned in a four-inning outing in which he threw a total of 79 pitches.
Nats' skipper Matt Williams said the '09 no.1 overall pick's command just wasn't there in a game which the Nationals rallied to win, 14-6, improving to 5-2 against San Francisco this season.
"He threw some good fastballs down and away to the right-handers today," Williams told reporters after that game.
"But he also missed location a few times and they got him. That's part of pitching, it happens. The fact that the guys were able to come back and win the game is saying something, but he wasn't as sharp as the last two outings today."
Since then Strasburg's gone (4-1) in six starts with a 1.13 ERA, three walks (0.68 BB/9), 40 Ks (9.08 BB/9) and a .197/.220/.285 line against in his last 39 ⅔ IP.
The Nationals went 21-12 after that three-game set to finish the season with the NL's best record at 96-66. The Giants went 19-13 over that stretch, finishing the regular season at 88-74.
As Rizzo put it today, the Nats were ready for whichever team won the NL Wild Card Game.
"We feel if we play our game and our guys play to their capabilities and they don't have to play beyond it, I think we match up well against anybody," he said.
"And although we respect all the teams that we play, we don't fear any of them and we're ready to kick this thing off."
Friday afternoon at 3:07 PM EDT in D.C., the Nationals will start their second NLDS series in the last three years. This time it's with the visiting Giants.