Washington Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer answered without hesitation when asked whether an extra day of rest would help him more in terms of quality or quantity.
“Everything,” he said.
That explains why Nationals manager Dave Martinez saved Scherzer for Game 4 of the National League Division Series on Monday night against the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers in the nation’s capital. But now the pressure is on Scherzer and his teammates as they face a win-or-go-home situation against Los Angeles, which holds a 2-1 edge in the best-of-five series.
The Dodgers relied on a seven-run sixth inning to sprint to a 10-4 win in a pivotal Game 3 on Sunday.
“I told the boys we stayed in the fight all year, so let’s stay in the fight (Monday),” Martinez told reporters after the game Sunday. Los Angeles will turn to veteran left-hander Rich Hill as it looks to make its fourth straight appearance in the NL Championship Series. The 39-year-old Hill went 4-1 with a 2.45 ERA in 13 starts during an injury-shortened regular season.
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In three September presences, Hill allowed one run in 5 2/3 innings for a 1.59 ERA. He is 2-2 with a 4.08 ERA in seven career games (five starts) against Washington.
Hill is not concerned about whether the Dodgers will limit his innings.
“Pitch count, whatever it is, I can’t control that,” Hill told reporters. “Whatever I can give the team, I’m going to give the team. And the decision that’s made is going to be made obviously beyond my control. So that’s first and foremost. And my expectations are to go out there and have the ball come out of my hand the way I want it to every time. So that’s something that hasn’t changed in a long time for me, and that’s been pretty consistent, and it will be (Monday).”