The Nationals are carrying four left-handed relievers and an extra bench player for the National League Division Series, ultimately choosing to take a chance on young players like Brian Goodwin, Victor Robles and Enny Romero over veterans or a long reliever.
The Nationals will have a seven-man bullpen for their best-of-five series against the Cubs. Closer Sean Doolittle is joined by right-handed setup men Ryan Madson, Brandon Kintzler and Matt Albers, plus a trio of lefties who can be used to match up against specific Chicago batters: Oliver Pérez, Sammy Solis and Enny Romero.
The club was debating whether to carry an eighth reliever, specifically someone who could provide long relief in case Max Scherzer (battling a hamstring injury) or another member of the rotation exits early. In the end, the Nats decided not to keep Edwin Jackson, A.J. Cole or Matt Grace for that role. They also left veteran right-hander Joe Blanton off the roster, prioritizing left-handers instead.
Goodwin hasn’t played in a big league game since he strained his groin Aug. 13, but the 26-year-old proved to club officials he is healthy after playing in the instructional league in West Palm Beach, Fla., last week and then participating fully in team workouts this week at Nationals Park.
Robles, meanwhile, makes the postseason roster despite only 13 games and 27 plate appearances of major league experience. The 20-year-old impressed the Nationals with his raw skills and composure upon his promotion last month, and could prove a dangerous weapon as a pinch-runner or defensive replacement.
The Nationals did side with experience in selecting a backup catcher. Jose Lobaton, who struggled this season while batting .170 with a .525 OPS, was nonetheless kept on the NLDS roster over Pedro Severino, who continues to be viewed as the organization’s catcher of the future.
Here’s the final 25-man NLDS roster ...
PITCHERS (11): Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Max Scherzer, Tanner Roark, Sean Doolittle, Ryan Madson, Brandon Kintzler, Matt Albers, Oliver Perez, Sammy Solis, Enny Romero
CATCHERS (2): Matt Wieters, Jose Lobaton
INFIELDERS (6): Ryan Zimmerman, Daniel Murphy, Trea Turner, Anthony Rendon, Adam Lind, Wilmer Difo
OUTFIELDERS (6): Jayson Werth, Michael A. Taylor, Bryce Harper, Howie Kendrick, Brian Goodwin, Victor Robles