“It’s getting better,” Suzuki said Monday afternoon before the team’s charter left D.C. bound for Houston. “Obviously, got the treatment and stuff like that and it’s progressing. We’ll see. Going to do some stuff today and we’ll figure out more tonight after we get into Houston about tomorrow. Everything is looking good so far.”
Suzuki, who hit a home run to break a 2-2 tie in Game 2, said he had taken swings and was available if needed to pinch hit in Games 4 and 5. Suzuki left Game 3 after six innings with the hip injury. Yan Gomes replaced Suzuki in the lineup.
“I was ready,” Suzuki said of Saturday and Sunday’s games. “Ready to pinch-hit, catch in an emergency, obviously, just kind of doing my thing. Not doing blocking drills like I would do in spring training, but just trying to stay sharp and be ready. I think at this point in the season you are always going to be ready. There’s nothing extra that I have to do at this point in the season to stay ready.”
If Suzuki can return, he has studied the Astros hitters and what they would want to do when pitching to them in Game 6.
“I’ve pretty much done all my homework the first couple games,” Suzuki said. “It’s just a matter of changing up your sequences and your patterns because obviously they are good hitters over there, and they make adjustments as well. You just have to change it up and at times go with your pitcher’s strengths. We’ll see. It should be interesting.”
The Nats won the first two games of the best-of-seven series at Minute Maid Park, but then lost all three home games over the weekend. But the Nats have won elimination games against Milwaukee and the Dodgers twice already in this postseason. How have they been able to answer the call in the most desperate situations during these October matchups?
“I really don’t know,” Suzuki said. “Pretty much everyone eliminated us from the season in May. So every game was an elimination game since then. But basically you got to go out and play. You can’t worry about what’s at stake and this and that. You try to play it as much as possible as another baseball game.
“We’ve been in this spot before earlier this postseason and we just got to go out there and play baseball. We can’t control the future. We just control what’s at present right now and that’s going out there and competing.”