Washington Nationals’ shortstop Trea Turner went 1 for 4 with a home run in Tuesday night’s NL Wild Card win over the Milwaukee Brewers, so they earned the right to move on and face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS, which starts at 8:37 PM tonight in Dodger Stadium.
Turner talked after the win over the Brewers about going up against the Dodgers again in a rematch of the 2016 Division Series, which LA won in five games.
“They’re obviously a good team,” Turner said. “Great starting pitching, good lineup and deep and whatnot.
“So it’s going to be tough. But I think if there’s a team that’s ever been ready to face some adversity, it’s this one right here. And I guess [Patrick] Corbin is pitching for us. I don’t know if I’m supposed to say that. Also, I don’t have background information on that. So that’s just my thought process ...
“But to go against a good rotation over there, it’s going to be a battle, and we’re looking forward to it.”
Nats’ manager Davey Martinez confirmed that it would be Corbin starting against LA in the series opener in his own post game press conference after the win on Tuesday, though he didn’t commit to anything beyond that after Max Scherzer started and Stephen Strasburg tossed three innings in relief in the Wild Card Game.
“I will tell you Patrick Corbin will start Game 1,” Martinez said. But beyond that?
“Not sure yet,” GM Mike Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies on Wednesday morning.
“We need to settle in and put together our battle plan against the Dodgers,” Rizzo added.
“If we have to give the ball to Aníbal Sánchez I couldn’t be happier and more comfortable with that. If it’s something else, if it’s Stras on short rest, we’re not sure yet. We have to see how Stras feels, and that was big boy baseball from Stras last night, it was good stuff, and I was really happy for him.”
The Nationals, who were 3-4 against the Dodgers this season, splitting the four-game set in LA in May before dropping 2 of 3 in D.C. in late July.
Martinez was asked after the matchup in the nation’s capital what he took away from the season series with the Dodgers.
“I go to the last series we had with them in LA, we had a four-game series with them, and we won two of the four games,” he told reporters, “... and I said once we get healthy, once we get everything going I think we match up really well with them, I really do.
“Granted their record is better than ours, but if you look we match up really well against them.”
Going into the NLDS, the Nationals have won nine in a row and 11 of their last 12.
“I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but I think we won nine games in a row,” Turner said after the Wild Card Game.
“I think we’re playing good baseball, this time of the year playing against really good teams. We played Philly, who was -- and then we played Cleveland.
“So we’ve had to play two tough series before this game. And Milwaukee has been hot the past month or so. No easy games. And I think hats off for us for continuing to fight because we know if we could keep it close we could have a chance at the end. And we’re here now.”
The Dodgers, who won 106 games total this season, and finished the season with wins in 18 of 24, are obviously going to be a tough opponent.
“They’re a great team, great organization, run by people we know and like, Stan Kasten, and that group of guys,” Rizzo told the Junkies.
“It’s gonna be a challenge but this team hasn’t backed off a challenge all season. And, I’ll tell you what, I wouldn’t want to play the Nats right now if I were the Dodgers.
“So I feel good about it. We’ve got ourselves an ace going for us in Game 1 in Patrick Corbin, we’ll see what happens in Game 2.”