Minutes after releasing their 25-man playoff roster on Friday morning, the Nationals made official their starting pitchers for Games 2 and 3 for their NL Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Tanner Roark will get Game 2 on Saturday in Washington, while lefty Gio Gonzalez will start Game 3 in Los Angeles on Monday.
Roark, 30, will make his first ever playoff start. The right-hander went 16-10 with a 2.83 ERA in 34 appearances this seasin, 33 of them starts. He logged 210 innings and struck out 172 batters.
Roark faced the Dodgers once this season, on June 21. He went 7 1/3 innings with three runs allowed in a 3-2 Nationals loss.
Gonzalez, 31, will make his fourth career playoff start. He has a 3.21 ERA across 14 postseason innings with 12 walks and 11 strikeouts.
Gonzalez also pitched vs. the Dodgers once this season, back on July 20. The lefty went six innings with one run allowed on three hits and two walks. The Nats won their only game out of six against the Dodgers this season that day.
Roark will pitch opposite Dodgers left-hander Rich Hill. Gonzalez will go up against rookie right-hander Kenta Maeda.
Game 2 is slated to begin at 4:08 p.m. on Saturday. The first pitch time for Game 3 has not been announced. Game 1 begins at 5:38 p.m. on Friday with Max Scherzer and Clayton Kershaw set to square off.
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The Washington Nationals announced Friday Dusty Baker will not return as manager of the club in 2018.
Baker led the team to the first back-to-back division titles in franchise history, and the Nationals were 192-132 under Baker, but they failed to make it to an NLCS.
Baker is 14th in MLB history with 1,863 career wins.
The next Nationals' manager will be their seventh since they arrived in DC.
Only the Marlins have had as many.
"I'm surprised and disappointed," Baker told USA TODAY Sports. "They told me they would get back to me and I told them I was leaving town yesterday and they waited 10 days to tell me."
"I really thought this was my best year. We won at least 95 games each year and won the division back to back years but they said they wanted to go a different direction. It's hard to understand."
The team also announced the contracts for the Major League coaching staff have also expired, and the search for a new manager will begin immediately.
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While Nats fans were still digesting the news that Dusty Baker will not return as manager next year, the team released some more surprising news.
Second baseman Daniel Murphy underwent knee surgery today, per an official team report.
Washington Post reporter Chelsea Janes reported that the surgery is considered significant and the team won't put a timeline on the recovery process:
"The procedure, according to the statement released by the team, repaired articular cartilage in Murphy’s right knee. For those interested in the details, it was a debridement and microfracture surgery, and orthopedic surgeon Timothy Kremchek performed it."
"For those concerned with the implications of the procedure, those are still unclear. The statement clarified that Murphy’s rehab “will progress throughout the offseason,” as one would hope, and did not include a timetable.
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