The Nationals must have received the group discount.
Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com passes along word that Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper, and Adam LaRoche all underwent surgery in recent days. Fortunately for the Nationals, all of them appear to be minor.
Strasburg had surgery yesterday to remove bone chips from his right elbow. The 25-year-old is expected to resume throwing in 4-6 weeks, so assuming no setbacks, he should be fine for the start of spring training. He posted a 3.00 ERA and 191/56 K/BB ratio over a career-high 183 innings this season and managed to finish out the year despite a bout of forearm tightness in early September. This is the second elbow surgery of his career, as he required Tommy John surgery during his rookie season in 2010.
Harper underwent surgery Wednesday to debride and repair the bursa sac in his left knee, which he injured crashing into the right field wall at Dodger Stadium on May 13. He’ll also require 4-6 weeks of recovery time, so it shouldn’t have an impact on his readiness for 2014. The 21-year-old outfielder batted .274/.368/.486 with 20 home runs, 58 RBI, and 11 stolen bases in 118 games this year.
LaRoche had surgery on Wednesday to remove loose bodies from his left elbow. Like Strasburg and Harper, he’ll need 4-6 weeks of recovery time. The 33-year-old first baseman hit .237 with 20 home runs and a career-low .735 OPS in 152 games this season and will enter 2014 in the final year of a two-year, $24 million contract.
The book heading into the series was that the Dodgers’ starters needed to come up big for them due to questions in the bullpen and that the Brewers’ bullpen was going to dominate Dodgers batters, so they had best do what they can to score off of Milwaukee’s starters. So, of course, the Dodgers starters turned in performances of three and four and a third innings and eight of their nine runs the Brewers have given up have come from their relievers. I dunno, man. It’s baseball. It lends itself to anticipatory analysis worse than any other sport.
All I do know for sure is that this series has been as close as it gets so far, with each game being decided by a run and the outcome being determined late. The first two games have given me a sense that the teams are just feeling each other out and that the next three, in Los Angeles, will provide a bit more coherence to all of this. Not that there isn’t something a bit fun about incoherence when it comes to a playoff series.
Your viewing guide:
NLCS Game 3
Brewers vs. Dodgers
Ballpark: Dodger Stadium
Time: 7:39 PM Eastern
Pitchers: Jhoulys Chacin vs Walker Buehler
Jhoulys Chacin had an excellent NLDS start against the Colorado Rockies, turning in five scoreless innings. If he does something approaching that tonight the Brewers will be in pretty good shape given that Josh Hader — who pitched three shutdown innings in Game one — is available again tonight. To the extent Craig Counsell needs to dig more deeply into his reliever corps, however, things could get dicey. Corbin Burnes, Jeremy Jeffress, Corey Knebel and Joakim Soria have combined to allow seven earned runs in four innings. Brandon Woodruff, who has been dominant thus far, throwing five scoreless innings, stands a good chance of being the opener for Game 4, so Counsell will likely try to keep him off the mound tonight. That puts a decent amount of pressure on Chacin to get the game to Hader with as few innings remaining as possible.
For Los Angeles, it’s Walker Buehler who, the grand slam he gave up to Ronald Acuña in the NLDS notwithstanding, was the Dodgers’ most dominant starter down the stretch. In keeping with the somewhat flipped script so far, however, the Los Angeles bullpen has been solid, allowing just two runs over their ten and two-thirds innings in Games 1 and 2. Not that Dave Roberts wouldn’t love to see Buehler go deep tonight too.