With the postponement of Wednesday night’s game, Washington Nationals manager Matt Williams lined up his starting pitchers for the remainder of the regular season, offering a clue into what the team’s rotation might look like entering the National League division eries next week.
Williams said Blake Treinen would start the first game of Thursday’s doubleheader against the Mets with Gio Gonzalez in the nightcap. Doug Fister and Taylor Hill will start the two games against the Marlins on Friday, though who will start which game was undetermined. Stephen Strasburg will start Saturday and Jordan Zimmermann will start Sunday.
That alignment would seem to put Strasburg in line to start Game 1 of the NLDS on Oct. 3, with Zimmermann on track for Game 2 on Oct. 4 and Fister in line for Game 3 on Oct. 6.
In that scenario, Strasburg and Zimmermann would be pitching on five days of rest, rather than the usual four, while Fister would be on a 10-day schedule, giving the Nationals an opportunity to keep him on normal rest with a simulated game or bullpen session Oct. 1.
As far as the lineup is concerned, Williams said his starting position players will likely play one game during each day of the doubleheader. He does not anticipate calling up any additional position players.
“It’s not ideal, for sure, but we can’t do much about the weather,” Williams said. “The weather’s pretty bad tonight and it doesn’t look like it’s getting out of here before tomorrow morning. So rather than wait around all night and get out of here late, we decided to play two tomorrow. It is what it is. We’re not the only team that’s had to play doubleheaders this year. We’ve got to deal with it.”
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Hill will travel to Washington from the team’s facility in Viera, Florida, where he has been pitching in an instructional league.
The right-hander made his major league debut earlier this season and has appeared in two major league games, allowing two earned runs in 4 1/3 innings. Williams said Hill was sent to the instructional league at the conclusion of the minor league season in anticipation of a potential conundrum like this.
The Nationals have clinched the National League East and entered Wednesday two wins or Dodgers losses away from clinching the best record in the NL. But Williams said cancelling Wednesday’s game altogether was not an option.
“They don’t just wipe games off the schedule, necessarily, unless it gets to the point where it’s the last game or something like that where you run into playoff schedules,” he said. “We’re required to play it, so that’s what we have to do.”