WASHINGTON—Gio Gonzalez flew ahead of the rest of the Nationals on Sunday morning. Kenta Maeda, Gonzalez’s opponent and the Los Angeles Dodgers starter for Game 3 of the Division Series, left immediately after his interview session before Game 2.
Saturday’s postponement of Game 2 inconvenienced everyone, and Major League Baseball had already scheduled Game 3 for a 4:08 pm start time.
The early time wouldn’t have been a problem had there been no postponement.
The Nationals flew right after Game 2, and hoped for some rest since Monday’s game begins 23 hours after Sunday’s ended.
“We’re both at a disadvantage without a day off,” Nationals manager Dusty Baker said.
He hoped that MLB would change the start time, but Monday was already a full day of Division Series play, and the Chicago Cubs-San Francisco Giants game at AT&T Park was already set for a 6:38 p.m. West Coast start, 2 ½ hours after the Nationals-Dodgers is supposed to begin.
“I’m just hoping that we play the late game rather than the early game. I would wish that. But, hey, whatever time they say we’ve got to play, we’vet got to play, and you’ve got to put it out of your head whatever time it is,” Baker said.
Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman said that the quick turnaround wouldn’t be a factor.
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“We've flown to the West Coast during the regular season and usually don't have a day off,” Zimmerman said. “If you can't get excited to play or if you're tired, then you should just stay here and go home.”
Jayson Werth, who has played in 55 postseason games, his first with the Dodgers in 2004, is realistic about the challenges.
“Food and sleep are probably the two biggest things. Game like this, emotions are running high. You may have to get yourself to eat on the plane. We'll get in late. Stuff some food down and hydrate. It's challenging, but they have to go through the same stuff. Get in, get some sleep and get back at it tomorrow. This is a crazy turnaround,” Werth said.
“It's going to be like Opening Day tomorrow. We'll have to go through intros. Those games are always challenging. They have to go through the same thing. We've gotta dig deep and find a way.”