ST. LOUIS - Victor Robles strained his right hamstring eight days ago, way back in Game 2 of the National League Division Series. He still hasn’t seen action since.
Robles was out of the Nationals lineup for the fifth straight game this afternoon with an injury that has been described as “mild” but apparently not mild enough to risk taking the field for a postseason game.
“For me, it’s just about Victor’s health and getting him healthy,” manager Davey Martinez said. “I don’t want him to come back and just play one game and get hurt. I want him to come back and play multiple games.”
Martinez has described Robles’ hamstring as being “80 to 85 percent” healthy, not enough to take a chance, especially in the colder weather these two experienced for Game 1 on Friday night. With the sun out and temperatures near 60 degrees this afternoon, there was some thought Robles might rejoin the lineup for Game 2.
But Martinez stuck with Michael A. Taylor, who played well in Robles’ absence during the second half of the NLDS but went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts Friday night.
“Michael’s doing fine,” Martinez said. “For me, yesterday he had good at-bats, he did. He didn’t get a hit but he battled, put a ball in play with (a) 3-2 (count), and that’s all you can ask for. But his defense, as we all know, we don’t miss much on defense with him out there.”
Wouldn’t you know it, but Taylor led off the top of the third this afternoon with a home run to left, giving the Nationals a 1-0 lead?
Kurt Suzuki, meanwhile, did return to the lineup today after sitting out Game 1 while remaining under concussion protocol following his hit-by-pitch in Game 5 at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday. Suzuki was cleared by doctors to play today, allowing him to serve as Max Scherzer’s batterymate.
Update: Here we go again. Scherzer is through four innings having allowed only one baserunner, that coming on a first inning walk of Kolten Wong. He has seven strikeouts. His pitch count is a bit high (67) but trending in the right direction. The Cardinals now are 1-for-41 in this series. The Nationals lead 1-0 heading to the fifth.
Update II: Adam Eaton’s two-run double in the eighth increased the lead to 3-0. Scherzer worked seven shutout innings, allowing a hit and two walks with 11 strikeouts. Sean Doolittle relieved in the eighth and gave up a run on Paul DeJong’s two-out single and a double over the head of Taylor by pinch-hitter José Martínez. It’s 3-1 Nationals going to the ninth.
Update III: Patrick Corbin got the first out of the ninth and Daniel Hudson recorded the final two outs to preserve the Nationals’ 3-1 win. They come back to D.C. with a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven NLCS.