WASHINGTON, D.C.: Dusty Baker announced today that rookie Pedro Severino will be behind the plate for the Washington Nationals catching Max Scherzer in Game 1 of the NLDS with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Severino worked with the right-hander earlier this season and Scherzer talked today about getting to know the Nationals’ prospect and feeling comfortable with the 23-year-old backstop.
“In most scenarios, having a rookie catcher behind the plate, you’d probably have cause for concern of not being in sync with him,” Scherzer said, “but Severino is completely different.
“First off, he’s way more mature and understands the game way further than any rookie catcher I’ve ever been around. He gets it.
“He really understands the game and he does a great job in-between my starts of understanding everything that goes into calling a game, understanding what numbers I’m looking at, understanding my sequences, understanding the signs that are going down, so that when I have pitched to him — I pitched to him in Arizona — it felt very comfortable throwing some of those, I was actually excited throwing to him because he’s actually really good back there as a catch-and-throw catcher.”
“He’s pretty good against left-handed pitching,” Dusty Baker added.
“I don’t think he’s seen one quite like this, in [Clayton] Kershaw before, [but] he’s worked with our guys and [Jose] Lobaton is a little bit injured, that’s one reason why he’s not catching tomorrow.”
In limited time in the majors this season, Severino was 9 for 28 (.321/.444/.607) with two doubles and two home runs.
Over 92 at bats at Triple-A Syracuse this season, Severino put up a .315/.360/.391 line against left-handed pitchers.
In an interview with 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies on Wednesday, Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo talked about what Severino brings to the lineup behind and at that plate.
“His defensive skills are evident,” Rizzo said. “He blocks pitches great, he handles balls, he’s a framer, he can throw you out as a base stealer and his swing is pretty efficient, but you’re asking a lot of a young kid to go up and play — with a handful of big league games — to go up against some of the best left-handed pitching that he’s probably ever seen in his life.”
Severino will have to test himself against Kershaw in the series opener on Friday, and handle Scherzer. No pressure, kid.