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.

Jones, Maddux, Morris consider Bonds, Clemens for Hall

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COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Hall of Famers Chipper Jones, Greg Maddux, Jack Morris and Ryne Sandberg are among 16 members of the contemporary baseball era committee that will meet to consider the Cooperstown fate of an eight-man ballot that includes Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Rafael Palmeiro.

Hall of Famers Lee Smith, Frank Thomas and Alan Trammell also are on the panel, which will meet in San Diego ahead of the winter meetings.

They will be joined by former Toronto CEO Paul Beeston, former Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs executive Theo Epstein, Anaheim Angels owner Arte Moreno, Miami Marlins general manager Kim Ng, Minnesota Twins president Dave St. Peter and Chicago White Sox executive vice president Ken Williams.

Three media members/historians are on the committee: longtime statistical analyst Steve Hirdt of Stats Perform, La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune and Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Neal and Slusser are past presidents of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

Hall Chairman Jane Forbes Clark will be the committee’s non-voting chair.

The ballot also includes Albert Belle, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Dale Murphy and Curt Schilling. The committee considers candidates whose careers were primarily from 1980 on. A candidate needs 75% to be elected and anyone who does will be inducted on July 23, along with anyone chosen in the BBWAA vote, announced on Jan. 24.

Bonds, Clemens and Schilling fell short in January in their 10th and final appearances on the BBWAA ballot. Bonds received 260 of 394 votes (66%), Clemens 257 (65.2%) and Schilling 231 (58.6%).

Palmeiro was dropped from the BBWAA ballot after receiving 25 votes (4.4%) in his fourth appearance in 2014, falling below the 5% minimum needed to stay on. His high was 72 votes (12.6%) in 2012.

Bonds denied knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs and Clemens maintains he never used PEDs. Palmeiro was suspended for 10 days in August 2005 following a positive test under the major league drug program, just over two weeks after getting his 3,000th hit.

A seven-time NL MVP, Bonds set the career home run record with 762 and the season record with 73 in 2001. A seven-time Cy Young Award winner, Clemens went 354-184 with a 3.12 ERA and 4,672 strikeouts, third behind Nolan Ryan (5,714) and Randy Johnson (4,875). Palmeiro had 3,020 hits and 568 homers.

Schilling fell 16 votes shy with 285 (71.1%) in 2021. Support dropped after hateful remarks he made in retirement toward Muslims, transgender people, reporters and others.

McGriff got 169 votes (39.8%) in his final year on the BBWAA ballot in 2019. Murphy was on the BBWAA ballot 15 times and received a high of 116 votes (23.2%) in 2000. Mattingly received a high of 145 votes (28.2%) in the first of 15 appearances on the BBWAA ballot in 2001, and Belle appeared on two BBWAA ballots, receiving 40 votes (7.7%) in 2006 and 19 (3.5%) in 2007.

Players on Major League Baseball’s ineligible list cannot be considered, a rule that excludes Pete Rose.

This year’s BBWAA ballot includes Carlos Beltran, John Lackey and Jered Weaver among 14 newcomers and Scott Rolen, Todd Helton and Billy Wagner among holdovers.