Suzuki rested and available for Game 5, but Martinez sticks with Gomes

The Nationals were able to get catcher Kurt Suzuki a full day of rest Saturday after he tweaked his right hip flexor in Game 3 of the World Series against the Astros on Friday night at Nats Park.

Yan Gomes caught on Saturday during the Nats’ 8-1 setback that evened the best-of-seven series at two games apiece. He’ll be behind the plate again tonight catching Joe Ross, who was handed the starting assignment when Max Scherzer was scratched with spasms in his neck and right trapezius muscles.

Suzuki-Chats-Umpire-Blue-WS-G3-Sidebar.jpgNationals manager Davey Martinez said a full day off benefited Suzuki. The skipper said Suzuki was available to pinch-hit last night if necessary.

“He’s better today,” Martinez said. “Yesterday he came up to me towards the end of the game, told me he could pinch-hit. I thought with Joe starting, let Yan catch, give him another day and with an off day tomorrow, he should be ready to go Game 6.

Gomes has experience catching Ross. Ideally, the Nats could go back to Suzuki to catch Stephen Strasburg in Game 6 on Tuesday night in Houston.

The Nats also have their two key relievers rested heading into Game 5. Ross pitched two shutout innings Friday night in Game 3, totaling 19 pitches, 14 for strikes. But Daniel Hudson and Sean Doolittle have not pitched since Game 1 on Tuesday night, when the pair combined to throw 2 2/3 innings.

Martinez has been happy with the relievers’ work these last few games.

“The bullpen has actually been good,” Martinez said. “Look, I went home last night and kind of, like I do every night, assess every game. What’s going on? We’re tied in a series 2-2. Both teams have scored 19 runs. I said, ‘We’re pretty even, you know?’

“So we’ve just got to go out there today and play good, clean baseball. In hopes that Joe could go out there and give us four, five, six innings, and we go from there.”

And that is the hope for the Nats. If Ross can go six innings and the offense can provide him support, it is conceivable the Nats could hand the ball to Hudson and Doolittle to get the final nine outs.

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