Nats make two bullpen changes for World Series

HOUSTON - The Nationals made some tweaks to the fringes of their roster for the World Series, but as we've seen throughout this extended postseason run to date, the National League champs fully intend to stick with the core group of big-name pitchers and lineup regulars in search of their first title.

The Nats added two new relievers for the Fall Classic in Joe Ross and Wander Suero, dropping Austin Voth and Roenis Elías from their NL Championship Series bullpen.

Ross-Firing-Blue-Sidebar.jpgThe addition of Ross is a surprise, considering the right-hander hasn't pitched at all since Sept. 29 and hasn't pitched in relief since July 27. Ross' numbers out of the bullpen this season (11.07 ERA, 2.172 WHIP in 18 appearances) were so bad that club officials decided to abandon the idea altogether and convert him back into a starter (a role in which he posted a 3.02 ERA and 1.455 WHIP in nine games).

Suero, meanwhile, was on the roster for both the NL Division Series and Game 1 of the NLCS before he was dropped upon Daniel Hudson's return from paternity leave. The right-hander led the team with 78 appearances during the regular season but pitched just once in the NL Division Series, retiring only one of the three batters he faced.

Voth had been on the active roster throughout this postseason run, but the rookie right-hander had not taken the mound in any game. The Nationals were holding him back in case of extra innings or an early exit by a starter, events that never occurred.

Elías, meanwhile, was on the NLCS roster after making a full recovery from the recurring hamstring injury that limited him to only four appearances following his July 31 acquisition from the Mariners. The left-hander has not pitched in this postseason.

The Nationals have their reasons for making the changes, but truth be told they're mostly cosmetic. Of the 28 relief appearances they've had in this postseason, 25 have come from Hudson, Sean Doolittle, Tanner Rainey, Fernando Rodney and members of the rotation who have stepped in to help out of the bullpen.

That philosophy of riding the biggest name pitchers on the staff will remain intact for the World Series, barring complications along the way.

The Nationals made no changes to their roster of position players. They're sticking with a six-man bench, though there will be fewer opportunities to deploy that many reserves while playing by American League rules in Games 1, 2, 6 and 7.

Here's the full World Series roster:

STARTERS (4): Patrick Corbin, Aníbal Sánchez, Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg

RELIEVERS (7): Sean Doolittle, Javy Guerra, Daniel Hudson, Tanner Rainey, Fernando Rodney, Joe Ross, Wander Suero

CATCHERS (2): Yan Gomes, Kurt Suzuki

INFIELDERS (7): Matt Adams, Asdrúbal Cabrera, Brian Dozier, Howie Kendrick, Anthony Rendon, Trea Turner, Ryan Zimmerman

OUTFIELDERS (5): Adam Eaton, Gerardo Parra, Victor Robles, Juan Soto, Michael A. Taylor

World Series Game 1 lineups: Nats at Astros
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