Being the road team has its privileges for the Nationals.
In the 2019 World Series, the Nats lost every game at home and won every game at Minute Maid Park.
Of course, maybe it’s all in your mindset, because the Nats broke their three-game losing streak at home in the Blue Jays’ “home opener” Wednesday night, 4-0 in 10 innings.
Or maybe it was the navy blue jerseys with the cursive “Nationals” across the front with gray pants. The Nats wore that uniform combination when they won eight playoff games in a row on their way to the title in 2019.
“Hey, could be the blue jerseys,” manager Davey Martinez said during the postgame Zoom call. “Who knows? Before the game we were kidding around with the boys, just telling them ‘Remember, we’re hitting first. Don’t run out on the field.’ The one guy that probably would’ve run out on the field was Max (Scherzer). We made sure he knew we were the away team.”
Scherzer said pitching in the bottom of the inning at home didn’t faze him a bit.
“It didn’t bug me whatsoever,” Scherzer said on his postgame Zoom call. “It is what it is. I pitch on the road all the time. So yeah, I made the adjustments. I know how to pitch on the road, so it really wasn’t anything different. 2020’s a weird season. We all knew it. I knew coming in today I was going to be the road team, so nothing changes.”
Today the Nats wrap up their four games in a row against the feisty Blue Jays, seeking a split. Right-hander Erick Fedde (0-0, 2.25 ERA) opposes left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu (0-0, 6.79).
Fedde did well in his first start, replacing Stephen Strasburg, going four innings, allowing one earned run on four hits with one walk and three strikeouts. The Yankees’ Giancarlo Stanton hit a solo homer off of him in the fourth inning. He threw 68 pitches, 42 for strikes. If he can go five or six innings today, he has the ability to have his pitch count pushed higher with no issue.
The Nats faced Ryu three times last season, including game 3 of the National League Division Series against the Dodgers. Ryu got the win that night 10-4, going five innings, allowing four hits with two walks and three strikeouts. He surrendered a two-run shot to Juan Soto in the first inning.
“Here’s a guy that is always around the plate,” Martinez said during today’s pregame Zoom call. “He’s a good pitcher. He throws all kinds of pitches but he’s always around the plate. We just got to be aggressive in the strike zone. He knows when to elevate, he knows when to get the ball down. The key thing is to stay in the middle of the field against him because he uses both sides of the plate really well.”
The Dodgers blew the game open with seven runs in the sixth inning, and led the series 2-1. The Nats would go 10-3 the rest of the postseason to bring home the trophy.
The Blue Jays-Phillies series in Philadelphia has been canceled due to two positive COVID-19 cases invloving Phillies personnel. According to Ben Nicholson-Smith on Twitter, the Blue Jays are asking the Nats if they can stay in D.C. to work out at Nats Park over the weekend.
WASHINGTON NATIONALS at* TORONTO BLUE JAYS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 4:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, MLB.com
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 94 degrees, 15 percent chance of precipitation, wind 8 mph in from right-center field
SS Trea Turner
RF Adam Eaton
2B Starlin Castro
1B Asdrúbal Cabrera
C Kurt Suzuki
DH Josh Harrison
3B Carter Kieboom
CF Victor Robles
LF Michael A. Taylor
RHP Erick Fedde
SS Bo Bichette
2B Cavan Biggio
LF Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
DH Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
1B Rowdy Tellez
CF Teoscar Hernández
RF Derek Fisher
C Danny Jansen
3B Brandon Drury
LHP Hyun Jin Ryu