I spent all morning talking about who should get the starting pitching nods for Game 4 between the Dodgers and the Nationals. Now we have an actual answer: Joe Ross of the Nats will face off against Clayton Kershaw.
With Kershaw, Dave Roberts is obviously thinking “go with my big guy today and worry about Game 5 on Thursday.” He’s also likely in receipt of a good report from Kershaw about how his back feels. The hope for the Dodgers is that Kershaw can go deep into this game, the back end of the bullpen can finish it off in one or two innings, and then Julio Urias and Rich Hill can tag-team Game 5 with whatever arm isn’t dead come Thursday. If Kershaw it knocked out quickly today, well, maybe all is lost anyway. Or maybe Urias can tag-team with him. That would make Game 5 a REAL mess, but that’s where we are.
As for the Nats, Max Scherzer is waiting for Game 5 regardless. Today it’s Ross, who is certainly well rested as he hasn’t appeared in a game since September 29. He was strong down the stretch after returning from a shoulder injury. The only question is whether he can handle the Dodgers’ left-handed bats (and the right-handed bats which struggle against lefties). If he can’t, Dusty Baker still has some lefties to go to in his pen.
Kershaw or no, the Nats are still pretty firmly in the drivers’ seat.