The Los Angeles Dodgers and Washington Nationals reached the finish line of the regular season in opposite fashion. While the Nationals clinched home-field advantage in the National League Division Series, they also had multiple players battling injury.
Having already lost All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos to a torn ACL suffered during the final week of the season, the Nationals faced the prospect of beginning the NLDS with a banged-up group of Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy and Jayson Werth.
Harper, who earlier this season was said to be dealing with a right shoulder issue, recently had a thumb injury. Werth missed the final two games due to back tightness, and Murphy missed most of September because of a strained buttocks.
Murphy pinch-hit on the final day of the regular season and spent the week ramping up the activity in his workouts. According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, the second baseman expects to play, presumably as a starter, on Friday:
Daniel Murphy said he's "confident" he'll play tomorrow.
— Jorge Castillo (@jorgeccastillo) October 6, 2016
In his first season with the Nationals, Murphy batted .347/.390/.595 with 25 home runs, 104 RBIs and 88 runs scored. He nearly won the NL batting crown, and is considered among the favorites for MVP.
Murphy is also coming off one of the best postseasons of all-time, as last year he batted .328/.391/.724 with seven home runs and 11 RBIs in 14 games as a member of the New York Mets. He fared particularly well against the Dodgers, hitting .333/.333/.810 in five NLDS games.