Saturday, October 6, 2012

Rotation, roster set



ST. LOUIS -- The Nationals won a major-league best 98 games this season with a roster and starting rotation that didn't change very much along the way, so they're not going to change much heading into their first-ever postseason series.

Manager Davey Johnson said today his rotation for the National League Division Series against the Cardinals will stand pat. Gio Gonzalez starts Game 1 tomorrow, with Jordan Zimmermann following him on Monday at Busch Stadium. Edwin Jackson will then start Game 3 in Washington on Wednesday, with Ross Detwiler pitching Game 4 on Thursday.

Johnson didn't formally reveal his 25-man roster for the series, but he said there would be no surprises and made it all but clear rookie Christian Garcia would be in the bullpen with John Lannan left off the roster.

In the end, the Nationals felt it best to dance with the guys who got there here in the first place.

"The preparation that you have for a ballclub comes in [162] games in a regular season," Johnson said before his team took the field for a late-afternoon workout. "You really don't do anything different. I don't want to act any different. It's going to be business as usual. We've got no trick plays we're running out there."

In other words, don't expect a surprise appearance by Stephen Strasburg. The right-hander, who was shut down four weeks ago after pitching 159 1/3 innings for the season, did make the trip with the Nationals and will continue to work out with the club and watch games from the dugout, but he will not be included on the active roster.

The only real decision Johnson and general manager Mike Rizzo had to make involved the final spot on the roster. The club could have gone with Lannan, making the lefty a long reliever. It could have kept an extra bench player like rookie Eury Perez or veteran Mark DeRosa.

Ultimately, Johnson and Rizzo decided to go with another power arm, keeping Garcia, the 27-year-old right-hander who in his first 13 big-league appearances posted a 2.13 ERA, 15 strikeouts and only two walks.

"This is what you dream of," said Garcia, who twice had Tommy John surgery and opened this season at Class AA Harrisburg. "When I was rehabbing, the things that helped me get through days when I didn't want to work out was days like this. Being able to pitch in a postseason game, and not just pitch in it, but be somebody in the postseason and make a name for myself."

Rizzo said the pitchers who didn't make the postseason roster -- Lannan, Strasburg, Zach Duke and Chien-Ming Wang -- will remain with the team and continue to stay fresh just in case. Teams are allowed to make roster changes during a series in the event of an injury.

DeRosa, an immensely popular veteran and pseudo-coach at times, also is staying with the club through the postseason. Other position players who didn't make the roster, though, have been sent to Viera, Fla., to keep getting at-bats with the Nationals' fall instructional league team: Perez, catcher Sandy Leon and outfielder Corey Brown.

The decision to start Jackson in Game 3 and Detwiler in Game 4, meanwhile, appeared obvious once the Cardinals -- with a lineup heavy with right-handed hitters -- beat the lefty-loaded Braves in last night's NL Wild Card Game. Johnson had hinted earlier in the week he might consider adding Lannan to the rotation for a series against Atlanta but made it sound today like he planned the Jackson-Detwiler combo all along.

"I kind of like the experience that Edwin Jackson brings," Johnson said of the 28-year-old, who was a member of St. Louis' World Series winning rotation last fall. "So even if it had been Atlanta, I would have probably gone with Jackson."

Johnson, by the way, said he's feeling considerably better after having to depart Wednesday's regular-season finale in the seventh inning after his left leg went numb. Doctors diagnosed the issue originating in his lower vertebrae, and he received a cortisone shot and treatment yesterday. The 69-year-old manager was moving around well today and even played catch with third base coach Bo Porter before the Nationals' workout.

"I feel a heck of a lot better," Johnson said. "I have no pain, just a little stiff back."

Here, then, is what the Nationals' roster for the NLDS will look like...

STARTING PITCHERS (4)
1. LHP Gio Gonzalez
2. RHP Jordan Zimmermann
3. RHP Edwin Jackson
4. LHP Ross Detwiler

RELIEF PITCHERS (8)
1. RHP Drew Storen
2. RHP Tyler Clippard
3. LHP Sean Burnett
4. RHP Craig Stammen
5. RHP Ryan Mattheus
6. LHP Michael Gonzalez
7. LHP Tom Gorzelanny
8. RHP Christian Garcia

STARTING LINEUP (8)
1. RF Jayson Werth
2. CF Bryce Harper
3. 3B Ryan Zimmerman
4. 1B Adam LaRoche
5. LF Michael Morse
6. SS Ian Desmond
7. 2B Danny Espinosa
8. C Kurt Suzuki

BENCH (5)
1. C Jesus Flores
2. IF Steve Lombardozzi
3. IF Chad Tracy
4. OF Roger Bernadina
5. OF Tyler Moore

62 comments:

peric said...

When is Davey going to make it official? Tomorrow?

rogieshan said...

No second guessing here. Go Nats!

Joe Seamhead said...

So, cut through it all and Garcia takes Strasburg's spot on the roster that was intact for most of the year.

peric said...

@acomack: Last time, guys: Stephen Strasburg will not pitch in the playoffs. RT @shawnjordan1: @acomak Is Strasburg on the playoff roster?

For any friends of Tony Kornheiser looking in ...

Again, in the style of John McLauglin, Prediction: Strasburg will not pitch again until spring training 2013. Bye Bye!

MicheleS said...

Wow, absolutely shocked that the Nats didn't use a roster spot on Strasburg (NOT).

peric said...

So, cut through it all and Garcia takes Strasburg's spot on the roster that was intact for most of the year.

Really only need 4 starters ... could get by with 3 as they did in the past ... but they're sticking with the rest cycle.

So, that means Detwiler (listed in the #4 slot) took Strasburg's slot. Garcia took Henry's spot. Remember, when the Nats were carrying 8 relievers? There's a reason. They need those power arms, break glass in case of potential big inning.

So, if Strasburg weren't shutdown it would be Strasburg, Gonzalez, Zimmermann, and Jackson. Undoubtedly, Detwiler would be the left-handed long man perhaps?

peric said...

Wow, absolutely shocked that the Nats didn't use a roster spot on Strasburg (NOT).

I still like the idea ... but when I first thought it about it I hadn't considered the possibility that everyone and their uncle would expect that Rizzo and Johnson would take the restrictions off and let him pitch. And would keep bugging all and sundry about it. I guess its a bad idea and far worse than I had considered.

Donald said...

Hey, Mark. Looks like you nailed it with your prediction from the other day. Good going!

MicheleS said...

Not sure if anyone is in STL this weekend, if you get a chance go over to the 360 bar/restaurant in the Hilton. It has amazing views of the ball park.

peric said...

As expected, no Lannan, and it wouldn't have happened with Atlanta ...

I was right about that one at least ...

Laddie Blah Blah said...

No real surprises. The Nats will score against that Cards staff. The Nats in 4.

natsfan1a said...

Seconded. And glad to hear that Davey's feeling better.

rogieshan said...

No second guessing here. Go Nats!
October 06, 2012 6:17 PM

Joe Seamhead said...

peric, Detwiler has been on the roster most[all] of the year, as was Strasburg. Henry was not. My point was that Strasburg is not on the NLDS roster. Garcia is. Garcia, in effect, took Strasburg's spot on the roster. Virtually everything else is status quo. Henry, good , or bad, was never in the discussion of the postseason roster. Why do you twist things?

natsfan1a said...

Oh, and very happy that Mark is in the playoff rotation. Thanks, CSN! Do beat writers get the jitters in the postseason? Nah. :-)

MicheleS said...

1A, I wonder if Chase got to go?

NatsJack in Florida said...

"At least".... That's as close as it gets.

MicheleS said...

I think FP is growing a playoff beard.

Kevin Rusch said...

I think I'd prefer Lannan to Michael Gonzalez. I know Gonzalez is a LOOGY, but I think Lannan could probably do the job just as well as Gonzalez can; Lannan brings the benefit of being a long man if a game (or several) go extra innings.

Joe Seamhead said...

Well, Parker could have handled that better.

Joe Seamhead said...

Kevin, Lannan has no positive history as a reliever, either long, or short. If the Nats were facing the Braves there would have been a good chance that he would have made the roster at somebody else's expense.

JaneB said...

Michael Gonzalez has been a work horse for us. I take him over John. Stammen and Gorzo can go long if we need them to.

I hope our guys are having fun. And I hope the Nats get over any residual trauma from being swept last time they were there. Watching the MASN show, and they just replayed The Shark catching that ball in Houston in the corner of the outfield.

I'm so excited! And nervous. But mostly excited.

MicheleS said...

Ray gets soooo excited. It's funny

Joe Seamhead said...

I agree with you regarding Mike Gonzo, Jane, and also about Stammen and Gorzolony.
Relax, and enjoy the preliminaries! I don't think that the Nats were tramatized in the least from that last series with the Cards.
We got this.
GYFNG!!!

peric said...

Every single time they tried pitching Lannan in relief in spring training he failed miserably. That was his audition. He'll end up there eventually if he wants to stay in the majors but up until now he hasn't shown Davey anything in that regard.

MicheleS said...

JoeS/JaneB..
Glad Mike G is in the bullpen, need someone to keep the kids in line down there besides Lett.

peric said...

Henry, good , or bad, was never in the discussion of the postseason roster. Why do you twist things?

Henry was the eight reliever until they decided to DL him. They have brought back eight relievers for the playoffs. Logically, Garcia is a power arm back-end type that replaces Henry ... and becomes a starter when Henry is healthy and hopefully manages his control issues.

Detwiler started the season as the #5 starter. He was briefly supplanted by CM Wang. But, rose again to the occasion to win his job back from the bullpen. Johnson has arranged the rotation in order of precedence from the top (sans Strasburg). Detwiler ends up at the end. Therefore, via elementary substitution Detwiler replaces Strasburg as the 4th starter.

How is that twisting anything? Dems the facts like it or not.

baseballswami said...

Two rookies on the bench out of five. I am thinking that is not the usual look of a bench in the post season. I haven't actually had a team in the post season for more years than I can count, so I wouldn't know, just seems that most teams have the older guys that can't play full time anymore. Just another way that the Nats are unique and special. Those three rookies, out of 25 guys that are by no means old, grizzled veterans - and they might just be called upon to do some damage. Bryce seems his usual confident, just-let-me -play self. Does anything faze him? I love this team.

Doc said...

Congrats again NatsJack, your guy Garcia made it all the way from Florida last fall to the playoff roster!

Can't wait to see him throw that apple down the pitching pike!!!

The kid (not really a kid, I guess) seems to have lots of character.

Joe Seamhead said...

peric, oh greatest, bestest, longest running , most knowledgable Nats Fan, what was I thinking?, Of course you are always right. Your are also a lot luckier then I am.

NatsLady said...

You can cry now-- or later.

no words

https://twitter.com/StephaneeNeshek/status/254626670978412544/photo/1

Swift Eagle said...

I agree that Lannan was probably never in the mix for a relief spot...But it had nothing to do with Spring Training "auditions"...Rizzo and Davey put no stock in Spring Training "results" when it comes to vets...It's all about preparation and working out the kinks, there's no analysis of Saber-Stats from Spring Training...And certainly no prep for the Post Season

peric said...

Of course you are always right. Your are also a lot luckier then I am.

OH WTF, when you're in with the in crowd don't you know what's the latest thing? Babe Ruth's soiled diapers floating on the surface right next to Camden Yahds ...

Look Strasburg has been SHUTDOWN for what a month? If Garcia is replacing anyone its Lannan, purportedly the new defacto #5 starter ... sheesh.

baseballswami said...

NatsLady - that is just heart breaking. They are tough people, though. I can't believe they are at the game and he pitched. Puts everything in perspective. I know a young couple whose 14 month old died suddenly five weeks ago. It's devastating beyond belief. Beyond the game, for sure.

MicheleS said...

NatsLady.. Can't watch.. Will just start to sob. Heard it on the radio and crying and driving do not mix

peric said...

But it had nothing to do with Spring Training "auditions"...Rizzo and Davey put no stock in Spring Training "results" when it comes to vets..

Say what you want but as I recall, Detwiler was effective in relief and starting in ST 2012. Lannan, not at all in relief, and barely as a starter.

After stating that John Lannan ostensibly was his man for the #5 slot when Wang went down, Davey changed his mind.

Why was that? Wasn't John the veteran?

The "In Crowd" bah.

baseballswami said...

Can't believe Detroit and the A's are 3 to 1. What a game. The A's are earning major respect right now.

MicheleS said...

Swami, I hope the A's can pull it out. Would love to see the ExNats go far

peric said...

Wow, Derrick's offense never recovered from the bad year in AA ... they pinch hit for him now.

MicheleS said...

I am glad that Francona is going to the Indians. He deserves a shot after the way the sox treated him. I hope they can turn it around. Indians fans are fun too.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Norris needed more time in AAA. He certainly had flashes of brilliance including a walkoff HR and hit.

MicheleS said...

Oh Lord.. Bryce has a new hair color -deep black

D'Gourds said...

I agree with all his personel decisions. We're now set. Let's kick some butt!

natsfan1a said...

Good question on Chase.

Re. FP, I thought I saw where he had been doing that, but a Nat told him to shave it - keep everything the same. :-)

MicheleS said...

1A, I wonder if Chase got to go?
October 06, 2012 6:56 PM

MicheleS said...

I think FP is growing a playoff beard.
October 06, 2012 7:08 PM

natsfan1a said...

Oh, that is heart-breaking. I just saw it but had already cried when he came into the game. :'{

NatsLady said...

You can cry now-- or later.

no words

https://twitter.com/StephaneeNeshek/status/254626670978412544/photo/1
October 06, 2012 8:47 PM

natsfan1a said...

Oh, and I loved that Jonny Gomes was the first guy to go over to Neshek after he came out of the game.

Swift Eagle said...

Very glad the Nats are not playing Game 1 in SF v. Cain...Yikes!

rogieshan said...

I wonder if we will see Manny Acta return to the Nats next season as Bo Porter's replacement.

natsfan1a said...

Me, too, on Francona, Michele. I will have to check in with my aunt, who is a fan of the Tribe.

MicheleS said...

1A
Found out, poor Chase isn't there.

natsfan1a said...

Thanks, Michele. Gotta go finish my laundry now. And watch a little baseball. Ah, the joys of multitasking.

Swift Eagle said...

What a play...Spilled some beer though...Beer died a hero, as FP would say

mick said...

Wonk... I forgot all about Deon Sanders, Kudos to you lol

mick said...

Swift Eagle said...
What a play...Spilled some beer though...Beer died a hero, as FP would say


lol I've seen many a beer die a hero, ha ha

mick said...

Verlander is NASTY!

Robert McGough said...

I'll be watching at 9 am from Maui...can't wait!

Robert McGough said...

I'll be watching at 9 am from Maui...can't wait!

BigCat said...

So when all is said and done regarding the big Strasburg "shutdown", he missed 4 starts and Lannan threw 18 innings in his spot. I mean, is missing 4 starts really a shutdown. I do not feel good at all going into a fight with one hand tied behind my back. A "shutdown" would of been more like 120 innings or less.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Remember the old exptession we can beat you with one hand tied behind your back? That is what Rizzo is doing

rabbit34 said...

Garcia is so much better than Lannan. Considering SS can't pitch, Garcia will be a difference maker. Garcia is the best closer in baseball and nobody knows it yet.

rabbit34 said...

The Nats will need all five to win the series. They don't have the bats to do it any quicker.

Joe Schmoe said...

There appear to be two changes. Strasburg/Lanan roster spot and the DeRosa roster spot. Garcia fills in one of those spots. Who is filling in for the other? Tyler Moore?

Kevin Booker said...

You're right rabbit34. If Garcia doesn't get hurt or made a starter, he will be the closer by 2014. He's got the best stuff in the bullpen. There's a reason Davey kept him....because his stuff is silly.

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