It’s official. It’s going to be Joe Ross for the Washington Nationals and Clayton Kershaw for the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 4 of the NLDS this afternoon in Dodger Stadium.
As of last night, neither manager was willing to commit to their Game 4 starter after the Nationals took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series with an 8-3 win in LA.
Nats’ skipper Dusty Baker was asked after Game 3 if he’d made a final decision.
“We haven't decided yet,” he explained. “Mike [Maddux] and I were just talking about that. It's probably between, you know, [Reynaldo] Lopez and Ross. So we haven't really decided yet.”
The Nationals could have gone with Max Scherzer on short rest after he started Game 1 in D.C. this past weekend, but the win allows them to save Scherzer for a potential Game 5 (if necessary) and go with their 23-year-old right-hander with Lopez around in case they need him in long relief.
Ross missed over two months this season with shoulder inflammation, but returned to make three starts late this season, posting a 2.79 ERA and a .326/.383/.395 line in 9 2⁄3 innings, walking three batters and striking out 14. He faced the Dodgers in June, giving up seven hits and two earned runs in 6 1⁄3 IP, receiving no decision in what ended up a 4-3 loss.
Kershaw, 28, returned from two months off for a lower back issue in September, and made the start in Game 1 of the NLDS with the Nationals, giving up eight hits and three earned runs in five innings in the nation’s capital.
With the Dodgers facing elimination today, skipper Dave Roberts is turning to LA’s ace.
Roberts was asked after the loss last night, what if anything would keep him going with Kershaw?
Clayton Kershaw will take the ball today.— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) October 11, 2016
“Well, in an elimination game, we still have to win two games,” he said.
“So the thought of having Julio [Urias] pitch at home versus the road is something that we're thinking through, and what gives us the best chance to win two games.
“And obviously, yeah, you have to win tomorrow to win on Thursday.
“For us, we're contemplating a lot of different scenarios and what's best ultimately, and we'll make that decision soon.”
The decision came this afternoon, shortly after the Nationals announced that they would be going with Ross.
• We talked about the decisions on each starter and more on Nats Nightly after last night’s game: