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Playoff Reset: Dodgers vs. Nationals NLDS Game 5

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The Game: Los Angeles Dodgers @ Washington Nationals, NLDS Game 5
The Time: 8:30 PM EDT
The Place: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
The Channel: FS1
The Starters: Rich Hill (Dodgers) vs. Max Scherzer (Nationals)

The Upshot:

The Clayton Kershaw-on-short-rest gambit ended up working in Game 4 and the Dodgers lived for a Game 5. Now we see how the second part of that gambit works. Because, yes, it was always a two-part thing: who pitches in Game 5 if you use Kershaw in Game 4? That “who” is Rich Hill, also on short rest. And unlike Kershaw, Hill doesn’t have much experience doing that and none of it recently. Between that and finger blister issues he’s had all year that cannot be helped much by less recovery time, it’s an open question how long he’ll last. One has to assume Dave Roberts will have the absolute quickest of hooks, and that if Hill falters, Julio Urias will be in this game in a heartbeat. While untested and not as good as Hill at his best, he’s certainly well-rested. It’s probably best to think of this as a co-start by Hill and Urias, actually.

For Washington, the choice is much simpler and the man chosen much better: ace Max Scherzer on full rest. He allowed four runs on five hits in six innings in the series opener — he was dinger-prone then as he has been all year — but he’s always capable of a dominating performance. Dusty Baker will certainly want to stick with him as long as he can but, if Scherzer is less-than-ace-like he still has lefties in the pen who have mostly neutralized Dodgers hitters in this series. The Dodgers may not be super scared of Scherzer, though, as he has been far less effective against lefties than righties and the Dodgers are lefty-heavy.

The Dodgers have fallen in the NLDS in each of the past two seasons. The Nats have never made it out of the Division Series. Someone has to win this thing, however. Whoever does will face a scary Cubs team.

Blake Snell becomes client of Boras Corporation

Blake Snell
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Ken Rosenthal and Josh Tolentino of The Athletic report that Rays starter Blake Snell has switched agencies, going from Apex Baseball to Boras Corporation. Snell is currently signed to a five-year, $50 million contract and will be under contract through 2023.

Snell found himself in hot water two weeks ago when he said on his Twitch stream that he wouldn’t risk his life to play baseball during a pandemic while receiving significantly reduced pay. Some described Snell as tone deaf for saying, “I gotta get my money. I’m not playing unless I get mine, okay?”

Boras represents many of baseball’s highest-paid players, including Gerrit Cole and Bryce Harper. Snell is not likely to win over any of the people he recently irritated by appearing to go after more money by hiring the highest-profile agent. What often goes unsaid is that players have a very limited window in which to use their elite athletic skills to make money.

Snell won the 2018 AL Cy Young Award, going 21-5 with a 1.89 ERA and a 221/64 K/BB ratio over 180 2/3 innings. He did not have nearly the same success last year, going 6-8 with a 4.29 ERA and a 147/40 K/BB ratio in 107 innings.