Dusty Baker stressed the positives after the Nationals battled back late before losing Game 4 of the NLDS to the Los Angeles Dodgers: Like the fact that Game 5 will be in Washington, D.C. on Thursday.
“That's why we fought so hard for the home-field advantage,” Baker told reporters.
“You don't think it's going to come into play, but most of the time, it does.
“And so we're going home. I'm sure they wanted to take both games here. We wanted to take both games here.
“But realistically, when you go to a place, most of the time, you know, you're hoping for at least a split. And they split at our place and we split at their place.”
Dave Roberts and the Dodgers were 53-28 in Los Angeles in the regular season, the second-best home record in the NL, and wins in 4 of 5 with Washington on the West Coast this season after their Game 4 win.
LA had a determined Clayton Kershaw on the mound, but the Nationals managed to tie it up at 5-5 late on Tuesday night in Dodger Stadium, in what ended up a 6-5 game in the Dodgers’ favor after an 8-3 win for Washington on Monday.
Another positive coming out of Game 4? Regardless of which starter the Dodgers go with on Thursday, the Nationals know they won’t have to face the Dodgers’ ace.
“Yeah, I know Kershaw isn't pitching,” Baker joked. “Thank God, you know what I mean.
“So I don't know who they are going to pitch,” he continued.
“They will probably let us know right before, I would imagine it's between [Kenta] Maeda, [Rich] Hill, and probably -- how do you say his name? [Julio] Urias.”
Roberts wasn’t quite sure who would start either, when he was asked if he had any more clarity after the Dodgers avoided elimination.
“No,” he said. “You know what, we didn't use Julio, so it's going to be a collection of arms. You know, I think that we talked about Rich as an option, obviously.
“But so is Julio and how we want to strategize to win Game 5, we're going to talk through it. But it's nice now that we didn't have to go to Julio, so he's certainly an option.
“We've got some guys in the pen that didn't pitch tonight, today. So we've got some good options.”
Baker has the option of turning to his No. 1 starter.
“You're never really comfortable until the game is over,” he said, “but we do have Max. They hit him pretty hard early in the game. We have Max and we have our home fans, the way they had their home fans here.
“So like I said, that's why you play so hard for the home-field advantage. You know, this year, it's coming to fruition.”
Scherzer told reporters he was looking forward to the opportunity of pitching in the nation’s capital again, after he started the series opener with the Dodgers.
“If it's anything like Game 1, it's going to be such a thrill,” Scherzer said.
“Game 1 was unbelievable there in D.C. The fans were just going nuts from the first pitch. So the fact that it's going to be Game 5, I mean, our fans really brought it in Game 1, so I can only imagine the atmosphere going into Game 5.”
The second Game 5 for the Nationals in the last five seasons will take place tomorrow night in the nation’s capital at 8:00 PM EDT.
• We talked about Game 4, Game 5 and Clayton Kershaw vs the Nationals on Nats Nightly: