WASHINGTON -- Tuesday’s Wild Card Game will be played in Nationals Park.
“It’s awesome,” Davey Martinez said. “I don’t have to go home and pack. Nice to stay at home. The boys wanted to stay at home. They came out and swung the bats and here we go Tuesday.”
Patrick Corbin will be involved Tuesday. He made his final regular-season start Saturday, threw 94 pitches, and is ready for his next role, which is likely left-handed reliever Tuesday. Max Scherzer will start the game.
Sunday, the Nationals can rest their regulars. Joe Ross will start. Kurt Suzuki, who felt well Saturday after catching for the first time, could play. Martinez wants Suzuki to pick up a few more at-bats before the season ends.
But, the rest of the lineup should be full of backups. Matt Adams could play first, Adrian Sanchez third, Wilmer Difo shortstop, Brian Dozier second, Michael A. Taylor left field, Victor Robles -- out sick Saturday -- in center to get another game, and Gerardo Parra in left. Taylor could later shift to center to replace Robles, Parra could flip to left and Andrew Stevenson could move to right field. Raudy Read could spell Suzuki. Aaron Barrett could finally throw a pitch in Nationals Park again.
While they work, Corbin will try to figure out what went wrong Saturday. He allowed six earned runs in just 4 1/3 innings. For all intents and purposes, it was Corbin’s second-worst outing of the season. He gave up six earned runs in 2 ⅔ innings May 31. He gave up seven runs in five innings June 11. Saturday’s start slides between those among the ones to forget.
Otherwise, Corbin’s first season in Washington was primarily a success. He finishes with a 3.25 ERA, 202 innings pitched and 238 strikeouts. It’s a replication of his 2018 season in Arizona which earned him a six-year, $140 million contract. He, like the rest of the team, now gears up for Tuesday.
The first Wild-Card Game in team history only has one participant, at the moment. Milwaukee is the likely opponent. St. Louis is a possible opponent. Both were playing later.
“We’re just happy to be in,” Ryan Zimmerman said. “At this point, we’re going to have to win games everywhere in all situations. Obviously, really happy and excited to play here, but at the end of the day, we’re going to have to win everywhere.”
The Nationals won again Saturday -- their seventh consecutive victory -- to clinch home-field for the do-or-die Wild Card Game. The winner advances to play the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Division Series on Thursday in L.A.
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