After concluding their slate of regular season games on Sunday, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Washington Nationals have been on mirroring schedules. Both clubs used Monday as an off-day, and began their workouts for the National League Division Series on Tuesday.
One notable difference of course is the Dodgers needed to fly to Washington D.C, where the first two games and if necessary, a Game 5, of the NLDS will be played. Los Angeles chartered a flight Wednesday morning and held a work out at Nationals Park shortly after landing.
Their 25-man active roster for the NLDS is set, though not yet official, which is in stark contrast to how the Nationals have handled matters.
What is known is Game 1 will be a marquee pitching matchup between two Cy Young Award winners in Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer.
Kershaw’s final tuneup in the regular season came Saturday, and said after the start he was excited to next take the ball in the postseason.
Scherzer expressed a similar sentiment and touched on the pressure of a postseason start, via Alex Putterman of MLB.com
“I know how to manage that and go out and handle that, take the ball and be at my best,” Scherzer said Sunday. “I know what I have to do. I’ve been in these situations before, and it’s the time of your life. Everything’s on the line. You’ve got to make every single pitch. I can’t wait to get the ball.”
In 34 starts on the season, the right-hander went 20-8 with a 2.96 ERA, 3.24 FIP and 0.97 WHIP while striking out a Major-League leading 284 batters and walking 56 in 228.1 innings. Friday’s start will be Scherzer’s first with the Nationals in the postseason.
Both Game 1 starters, as anticipated, were two of the best in baseball this season. Scherzer is considered one of the top candidates for the NL Cy Young Award, and Kershaw likely would have been the favorite to win the award if he did not miss two months with a back injury.
While Scherzer did not face the Dodgers in 2016, he is 2-4 with a 3.29 ERA in 10 career games (eight starts) against Los Angeles. When Scherzer last faced them — July 19, 2015 — he allowed seven hits and one run in six innings of work while striking out eight in a losing effort.