Nationals won't work on NLDS rotation, roster til later in week

The Dodgers wasted no time revealing their planned rotation for the National League Division Series, announcing Tuesday afternoon that ace Clayton Kershaw will start Game 1 against the Nationals, with fellow left-hander Rich Hill in Game 2, right-hander Kenta Maeda in Game 3 and possibly rookie left-hander Julio Urias in Game 4.

The Nationals, who clinched their berth in the NLDS a day before the club they'll be facing next week, won't be making such an announcement yet.

"No, just cause they did it, doesn't mean we've got to do it," manager Dusty Baker said today. "They can do what they want to do. I don't see any point in really releasing it so early. But like I said, they can do what they want to do."

scherzer-pitching-follow-through-sidebar.jpgThe Nationals admittedly have some decisions to make and some more evidence to gather before making those decisions. Max Scherzer and Tanner Roark are all but certain to start Games 1 and 2, but it remains to be seen how the rotation will line up after that.

Gio Gonzalez, scheduled to make his final regular season start tonight against the Diamondbacks, figures to be a key in the series because the Dodgers have the majors' least-productive lineup against lefties. It's unclear, though, whether Gonzalez would start Game 3 or 4.

Joe Ross, who has yet to throw more than 63 pitches since returning from a shoulder injury two weeks ago, is favored to fill the other starting slot. The Nationals, though, still need to see how he looks in his final scheduled start of the regular season Thursday.

"I mean, it's probably no secret anyway, other than when you get past No. 2 and 3," Baker said. "We haven't talked about it yet. We have to talk about it as a staff before we let you guys know, and we're going to do that on probably Friday. And then we'll let you know when we let you know."

The Nationals also are beginning the process of debating their full 25-man roster for the NLDS. They most likely will carry a 12-man pitching staff (four starters, eight relievers) and 13 position players (eight starters, five reserves).

Among the biggest decisions to make: How many lefties to carry in the bullpen, how many long relievers to keep, and whether to value experience over youthful promise in both the bullpen and on the bench.

Baker, his coaches and members of the front office plan to meet later in the week and offer their thoughts, after which they'll try to come to consensus.

"I ask everybody on a piece of paper to put down their 25 guys however they see," Baker said. "Then we'll come up with that. One guy might have one idea, and the next guy might have another idea. The pitching coach might have a different idea about the staff. The batting coach might have a different idea on who he thinks should be on the bench to face this guy or that guy. We'll come together with it and come up with the plan."

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