The Nationals and Cardinals have both wasted big scoring chances throughout this NLDS Game 1 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. But in the top of the eighth inning Washington finally broke through.
Tyler Moore, a 25-year-old rookie serving as a pinch-hitter, guided a Marc Rzepczynski pitch into shallow right field to score Michael Morse from third base and Ian Desmond from second, putting the Nationals ahead 3-2 with the day growing late.
St. Louis will try to rally in the bottom of the eighth, but the back end of the Nats’ bullpen is about as stout as it gets in the National League.
Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that the Diamondbacks and reliever T.J. McFarland have avoided arbitration, agreeing on a $1.45 million salary for the 2019 season. McFarland, in his third of four years of arbitration eligibility, filed for $1.675 million while the Diamondbacks countered at $1.275 million. McFarland ended up settling for just under the midpoint of those two figures.
McFarland, 29, was terrific out of the bullpen for the D-Backs last season, finishing with a 2.00 ERA and a 42/22 K/BB ratio in 72 innings. While the lefty may not miss a lot of bats, he does induce quite a few grounders. His 67.9 percent ground ball rate last season was the third highest among relievers with at least 50 innings, trailing only Brad Ziegler (71.1%) and Scott Alexander (70.6%).
McFarland was dominant against left-handed hitters, limiting them to a .388 OPS last season, but the D-Backs deployed him nearly twice as often against right-handed hitters, who posted an aggregate .764 OPS against him. It will be interesting to see if the club decides to use him more as a platoon reliever in 2019.