Trea Turner talked to reporters earlier this week in LA about what he was able to pick up when he faced the Los Angeles Dodgers’ lefties like Clayton Kershaw and tonight’s starter for Game 5 of the NLDS, Rich Hill, who took the mound in D.C. in Game 2 of the series.
“[Kershaw] and Rich Hill both get a lot of downward action on that curveball,” Turner said. “You see it fine and you think it's going to get there, and it kind of never does, and if it does, it's going down pretty hard. So it's just a matter of making sure you're in a good spot and seeing it up in the zone, because if it's down in the zone, it's going to be pretty tough to hit.”
Ryan Zimmerman said the tricky thing with Hill was his ability to throw you a mid-90s fastball after feeding you a steady diet of curves.
Zimmerman went 0 for 1 with a walk against Hill in Game 2.
“He does a good job of kind of throwing that curveball for strikes and for balls on purpose,” Zimmerman said.
“As soon as you think he's going to throw all curveballs, he sneaks a 90-92-mile-per-hour fastball by you. He's had a great year and put up great numbers.
“You go back and look at what he did in Game 2, and he could pitch the same way; he could pitch completely different. I've watched video where he throws the majority of fastballs and then you watch and he'll throw literally 12 out of 15 curveballs. So he's just kind of a guy who I think kind of looks and sees what the other team is going to do and sort of makes adjustments on the fly.”
On the mound for the Nationals tonight, Max Scherzer will be making his second start of the NLDS after giving up five hits, (two home runs) and four runs total in six innings of work in Game 1.
Dusty Baker was asked about handling Scherzer in a win-or-go-home Game 5 and whether he’ll manage any differently than he usually would.
“Well, that's something I was thinking about,” Baker said.
“You know, just because if Max gets in trouble, you would hate to take him out of the game early, because you've seen Max pitch himself out of trouble where the average guy can't do that. You tend to stick longer with your aces than you would, you know, anybody else on your staff.”
“You have to take that into consideration, how much fight Max has,” Baker explained.
“Because this guy is going to, he's going to fight you till the sun goes down. And if you think he's going to quit or quit on you, then you've got the wrong guy.”
As for what he’ll be looking for to know that Scherzer is sharp as everyone prepares and waits for tonight’s 8:00 PM EDT start time?
“That's a good question, because he's the same every day before he pitches,” Baker said.
“I mean, he's the same. I mean, you don't talk to him, you don't say hello to him. You don't give him high-five. You don't tell him nothing.
“Some of the signs earlier is if he has his control of his fastball, then if he really has control of his secondary pitches, his slider and his changeup, then you know Max is -- the other team is in for a long day.
“You hope that Max has a short first couple innings and not high-pitch-count innings. That's what you look for.”
Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts talked about sending his left-hand-heavy lineup out against Scherzer, hoping for more of the same less than a week after they faced the Nationals’ ace in Game 1.
“I think there’s a lot of confidence,” Roberts said when he met with reporters before tonight’s game.
“Obviously, when you face Scherzer, whether you faced him a few days ago or you haven’t, this guy’s got elite stuff. He’s a big-game pitcher. Our guys realize that.
“But having known that we have gotten to him before, and recently, I think that bodes good for us and our psyche.
“But if he executes his pitches, it’s going to be tough. So I think that he going to come in with a lot of adrenaline, a lot of emotion and the velocity is going to play up early.
“So for us, it’s just a matter of trying to stay in the strike zone. I think that, you know, if he makes mistakes in the strike zone, I like our chances. And if we go out of the strike zone, it’s going to a little tougher for us.”