They don’t yet know who they’ll be facing, but the Nationals and Reds have set their NLDS rotations.
According to Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington, the Nats will go with Gio Gonzalez in Game 1, Jordan Zimmermann in Game 2, then either Edwin Jackson or Ross Detwiler in Game 3.
Gonzalez, a candidate for the NL Cy Young Award, was an obvious choice for Nationals manager Davey Johnson. The left-hander posted a fantastic 2.89 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in 32 regular-season starts for the NL East champions, fanning 207 batters in 199 1/3 innings. He’ll match up well against anyone.
For the Reds, according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, it’ll be Johnny Cueto in Game 1, Bronson Arroyo in Game 2 and Mat Latos in Game 3. Homer Bailey will be available for a potential Game 4.
Cueto was also an easy pick. He had a 2.78 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 170/49 K/BB ratio in 217 frames this year.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that talks between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players’ Association concerning pace of play changes have stalled, which makes it more likely that commissioner Rob Manfred unilaterally implements the changes he seeks. Those changes include a pitch clock and a restriction on catcher mound visits.
Manfred said, “My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players. But if we can’t get an agreement, we are going to have rule changes in 2018, one way or the other.”
The players have made several suggestions aimed at reducing the length of games, such as amending replay review rules, strictly monitoring down time between innings, and bringing back bullpen carts.
It is believed that MLB is proposing a pitch clock of 20 seconds. If a pitcher takes too long between pitches, he will have a ball added to the count. If the hitter takes too long, then he will have a strike added to the count.