The Nationals have chosen right-hander Joe Ross to pitch Game 4 of their NL Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the team announced on Tuesday afternoon.
Ross, 23, was picked over rookie Reynaldo Lopez, who will be the remain the Nats' long reliever. They also technically could have gone with ace Max Scherzer on short rest.
Ross will try to lead the Nationals to a series-clinching victory. With a 2-1 series lead, the Nationals have a chance to move on to the NL Championship Series with a win.
First pitch is at 5:05 p.m. ET at Dodger Stadium. Los Angeles is starting ace Clayton Kershaw, hoping to keep their season alive.
Kershaw will be starting on just three days rest, but that hasn't hurt him in the past. He holds a 1.89 ERA with 23 strikeouts in 19 innings in previous postseason starts on short rest.
Ross went 7-5 with a 3.43 ERA in 19 starts this season. He held the Dodgers to two earned runs through 6 1/3 innings on June 22.
Ross missed six weeks with right shoulder inflammation, but returned in time to make three starts before the season ran out. He worked his way up to 90 pitches in his final regular season outing, a four-inning start against the Diamondbacks.
[RELATED: Nationals beat Dodgers to take 2-1 lead in NLDS]
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Despite Mark Lerner's comments to NBC Sports Washington that the team hasn't been in recent contact with Bryce Harper and has filled out the roster, SNY's Andy Martino says not to give up hope.
"Do not believe that the Nationals are out on Harper," Martino said. "People I talk to around the situation are saying don't rule the Nationals out until the moment that Harper signs elsewhere."
Martino believes that the clearest options may not be what they seem.
"The Phillies of course are pursuing him, but I continue to hear they have a tough road to get Harper to come to Philly," he said. "The Phillies are possible but I don’t know that I would call them frontrunners."
After the news of Manny Machado signing with the Padres, all eyes turn to Bryce Harper and how long this continues to drag out.
The clock is ticking.
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When Nationals principal managing owner Mark Lerner see his team lose, he has a postgame ritual that rivals one of the most ordinary passionate fan.
“ I go into a closet and scream a little after,” Lerner told NBC Sports Washington's Todd Dybas in an exclusive interview in West Palm Beach, Fla. on Friday. “No, no. That’s one thing that’s good about baseball. You’re going to play the next day. But I go home. I’m totally depressed. I won’t turn on the sports news or anything and get up the next morning, it’s a new day, get up and go after it again today. When I’m sitting down there, I’m very passionate as a fan. I’m yelling at the umpires like everybody else. I want to win. I hate losing exhibition games let alone regular-season games.”
Lerner also spoke about Bryce Harper's future - or lack thereof - with the team, Anthony Rendon and what he expects from the team this season.
The interview is now available in full on the MyTeams app, which can be downloaded here.
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