The Washington Post - 24.10.2019

(Nancy Kaufman) #1

D8 EZ SU T H E  W A S H I N G T O N  P O S T.T H U R S D A Y , O C T O B E R  2 4,  2 0 1 9

world series

Excerpted from

After Sánchez’s Game 3 start,
a bold strategy will be tested

The Washington Nationals’ radical pitching
strategy is about to receive its first big test.
The team has used its starters as relievers
throughout the postseason, and now, having
deployed third starter Patrick Corbin in relief
in Game 1, the approach has altered its
rotation plans.
Aníbal Sánchez will get the ball in Game 3,
Manager Dave Martinez announced
Wednesday, but he left his Game 4 starter
unknown, presumably in case Corbin makes a
relief appearance in Game 2 or 3 and then
cannot start Saturday.
The extra rest the Nationals banked during
their six-day layoff between the National
League Championship Series and the World
Series has quickly vanished. It seems unlikely
ace Max Scherzer would be ready to start
Game 4 three days after throwing 112 pitches
in Game 1 on Tuesday. It’s impossible Stephen
Strasburg, the Game 2 starter, could bounce
When asked whether someone other than
the four pitchers who have made every start of
this postseason for the Nationals could get the
ball in Game 4, Martinez did not hesitate.
“Yeah, it could be, yeah,” he said. “We’ll
see. We’ll cross that bridge when we get
The Nationals want to avoid that. They
signed Corbin for six years and $140 million
this offseason to start, and they would have

the upper hand if he starts what will be a
bullpen game for the Houston Astros. Yet not
using him aggressively out of the bullpen
conflicts with the Nationals’ win-now
approach that paid off in a Game 1 win.
The opener reinforced Corbin’s value out
of the bullpen as much because of his breezy
scoreless inning as the performance of the
options who would take his place. Tanner
Rainey was becoming Martinez’s third-most-
trustworthy true reliever, but the young,
hard-throwing right-hander struggled.
Rainey allowed a leadoff home run, recorded
one out and then walked two batters before
departing. (Martinez later said the hiccup
didn’t concern him and that he wouldn’t
hesitate to use Rainey in Game 2, if
The manager knows he needs his best
arms to protect leads or ties or, with the
Nationals’ penchant for comebacks, small
deficits. Yet he also must weigh the present
with the future in deploying Corbin. The
bullpen’s gain is the rotation’s loss.
— Sam Fortier

Outburst concerns Manfred
Commissioner Rob Manfred said he was
“really concerned” about the “underlying
substance” of an incident detailed in a Sports
Illustrated report, which alleged a clubhouse
outburst from Astros assistant general
manager Brandon Taubman directed at
female reporters.
“I’m really concerned, at this point, about
the underlying substance of the situation and
what the atmosphere was, how it came to be,”
said Manfred, who was speaking to reporters

before Game 2. “That’s my focus right now.”
The Sports Illustrated report had
described a verbal encounter, which occurred
after Game 6 of the American League
Championship Series. Three female reporters
heard Taubman shouting “Thank God we got
Osuna! I’m so f------ glad we got Osuna!” after
reliever Roberto Osuna’s rocky appearance in
that game. SI reported that Taubman turned
to the reporters when he yelled his
The Astros traded for Osuna in 2018 while
he was serving a 75-game suspension under
Major League Baseball’s domestic violence
policy. Houston faced criticism from fans,
members of the media and women’s groups
in the wake of the move and again this week,
when the franchise initially issued a
statement accusing Sports Illustrated of
fabricating the story.
The magazine described the clubhouse
scene, which was later confirmed by other
reporters, as “offensive and frightening”
enough to prompt an apology from another
team employee.
Earlier in the day, Astros General Manager
Jeff Luhnow said “we may never know” the
intent behind Taubman’s outburst.
During a previously scheduled appearance
on Houston’s SportsTalk 790, Luhnow said
Taubman and the three female journalists
have “different perspectives” and “what we
really don’t know is the intent behind the
inappropriate comments he made.”
— Des Bieler and Jacob Bogage

Party time at Nationals Park
The Nationals were 1,200 miles away in

Houston on Wednesday night, but for a loud
and energetic crowd at Nationals Park,
Game 2 of the World Series might as well
have been a home game.
Fans filled two-thirds of the ballpark’s
lower level, from near the left field foul pole
to Section 134 in shallow left field, to watch
the action on the stadium’s video scoreboard.
Never mind that they were staring at a
screen across an empty emerald outfield. Red
rally towels — handed out at the gate —
helicoptered overhead after Anthony
Rendon’s two-run double in the first inning.
“Let’s go Nats” chants rang out each time
starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg got to two
strikes. Fans were out of their seats and
dancing when the stadium P.A. blasted Juan
Soto and Asdrúbal Cabrera’s walk-up tunes,
drowning out the Fox TV announcers.
It was a marked difference from Tuesday’s
cold, wet Game 1 viewing party, when the
announced attendance was just 6,250 and
the owners of Walters Sports Bar and
Mission, just down N Street Southeast from
the center field gate, reported larger-than-
average crowds.
By contrast, on Wednesday, 9,600 people
had filed into the ballpark before first pitch,
according to a team spokeswoman, and the
crowd grew to nearly 12,500 by the time
Houston’s Alex Bregman crushed a two-run
homer to tie the game in the bottom of the
The team dispensed its full allotment of
36,000 complimentary tickets for the night’s
viewing party, and stadium officials opened
up new sections as the lower bowl along the
third base line filled.
— Rick Maese and Fritz Hahn


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