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Game 3 short turnaround? No problem, Nats say

Game 3 short turnaround? No problem, Nats say

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.”

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What to make of the Strasburg-Scherzer shouting match in the Nationals' dugout

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USA Today Sports

What to make of the Strasburg-Scherzer shouting match in the Nationals' dugout

Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer had a heated exchange in the Nationals dugout Friday night.

It was another not-so-great moment in an otherwise unspectacular season for the Nats so far.

Things like this often appear worse than they are based on what we can see, not hear, on television. In any case, it has fans and pundits talking about a perceived off-the-field issue instead of the actual game. There's nothing "good" about this, but there are important factors that are "bad" and ones that are "not bad."

Davey Martinez, Strasburg and Scherzer already said this has been settled and wasn't a big deal in the first place, but for a manager who's already faced some scrutiny this year for how he manages his pitchers, having two of them go at it in the dugout isn't ideal.

It also doesn't present the best optics for a team that came out of the All-Star Break 5.5 games back of the division-leading Philadelphia Phillies. The Nationals need to build some momentum heading into the dog days of summer, and after a lackluster first half, this isn't how anybody would want to start the second half.

This was also Strasburg's first start back from a month-long stint on the disabled list. Ryan Zimmerman just rejoined the club as well. Things are shaping up to make for a solid second-half run, but all this does is detract from that.

The Nationals also just hosted the first All-Star Game in Washington since 1969. Having something like this happen in the dugout where everybody can see it takes away from some of that good publicity.

But there are also positives, or at least non-negatives, to take from this. Scherzer has always been ultracompetitive, and as the best pitcher on the staff, he needs to harness that into leadership. With Strasburg coming off a rough inning, Scherzer may have thought he needed a little tough love from a veteran. There's nothing wrong with that. Strasburg, to his credit, has never been one to focus too much on himself, so if there's anyone who can take something like this constructively, it'd be him.

This isn't Jonathan Paplebon fighting Bryce Harper for not running out a pop fly the day after the Nats were eliminated from playoff contention. These are two veteran guys who play the same position who are both competitive and want to win. It's akin to an older brother pushing his younger brother to do better. Strasburg even hinted at the family aspect after the game.

In the end, there's really nothing to see here. Frustration is part of the game. Talking it out is a part of remedying the frustration.

What really matters is tracking down the Braves and the Phillies. The Nationals can get started on that Sunday in the second game of a rain-shortened two-game series against the Braves.

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Saturday's Nationals game rained out, to be postponed

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Saturday's Nationals game rained out, to be postponed

Following a dicey matchup between the Nats and Braves Friday night which featured a heated argument between Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, the Nationals are getting a much-needed opportunity to regroup.

The Washington Nationals' official Twitter account announced that Saturday evening's matchup will be postponed due to inclement weather just after 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

The Nationals had planned to host "JMU Night" at the ballpark as a part of their "College Day" series, and due to more forecasted inclement weather Sunday, the Nationals decided to call the game off sooner rather than later.

The Nationals have yet to announce when the game will be made up.

If Sunday's game is played as scheduled, Max Scherzer will start.

This post will be updated when more information regarding a makeup date has been announced.

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