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NLDS 2017: Washington Nationals’ skipper Dusty Baker on sticking with Jayson Werth

Jayson Werth is 1 for 14 through four games in the NLDS, but he’s back in there tonight. Dusty Baker explained why in his pregame press conference this afternoon...

Miami Marlins v Washington Nationals Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

After he went 0 for 4 in Game 4 of the NLDS last night, Jayson Werth was left 1 for 14 with two walks and three Ks in the Division Series with the Chicago Cubs.

He did, however, say that he felt good at the plate.

“I was just saying it was like a locked-in 0 for 4,” Werth joked with reporters after the Nationals’ 5-0 win in Wrigley Field.

Werth, 38, finished the regular season with a tough stretch at the plate after he’d worked his way back following 75 games on the DL for a fractured bone in his foot, going 13 for 84 (.155/.226/.286) with five doubles and two home runs in 23 games down the stretch.

Dusty Baker has run Werth out there in each of the four games against the Cubs in the Division Series, and he penciled the 15-year veteran in again tonight for the win-or-go-home Game 5 in the nation’s capital.

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Washington Nationals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Did he consider sitting Werth in favor or another outfielder with the season on the line tonight?

“Well, I did consider it,” Baker said. “But, you know, Jayson has been a big-game guy most of his career. So, not being sentimental or anything, but trying to be a realist.

“Again, law of averages is on Jayson’s side, big time, again. You know, I’ve been Jayson, and so I might have had a fit if I wasn’t playing tonight.”

Werth and the rest of his teammates will have to figure out Kyle Hendricks in Game 5, after the right-hander threw seven scoreless in Game 1, keeping Nats’ hitters off-balance all night in what ended up a 3-0 win for the Cubs. Baker told reporters in his post game presser after the series opener, that the Nationals tend to struggle with command/control pitchers, as opposed to high velocity pitchers.

“Those kind of guys give us more trouble than guys who throw hard,” Baker said.

“We have to make better adjustments,” he said this afternoon, “... because we haven't performed well against lower-velocity, control-type pitchers.

“But the law of averages is on our side, tonight,” he reiterated. “I told you I believe in the law of averages. The law of averages is on our side.”

“He does a good job of getting you in between,” Nationals’ catcher Matt Wieters said when he too was asked what made Hendricks so tough. “I think we'll probably need to do a better job of being able to be aggressive on a pitch we're looking for and not kind of worry about trying to hit both his fastball and a changeup, because he plays them both off each other well.

“So being committed is huge against him, and hopefully we can learn from the first game and take a step forward.”

Wieters was asked if there’s any advantage to seeing a pitcher again so quickly after they last faced him, but stressed that it’s more about picking a good pitch to hit.

“You can face a guy a hundred times,” Wieters explained, “... if you're swinging at bad pitches to hit, it's going to be tough to get a hit off him. So being able to get a good pitch to hit is huge, no matter whether it's your first time seeing a guy or whether you've seen him a hundred times.”

“It still goes back to getting a good pitch to hit,” Wieters added, “whether you've seen him or not recently.

“But like I said, short-term memory is probably a big attribute to a baseball player, so the quicker you kind of get them together, it actually may have more on our memory than if you haven't faced him in a couple months.”

Of course, the Cubs just saw Nationals’ Game 5 starter Gio Gonzalez in NLDS Game 2, when he gave up three hits, two walks, and two earned runs in five innings of work in what ended up a 6-3 win for Washington in which he received no decision.