In case you haven’t been following the series closely—for whatever reason—a doubleheader is on the docket for Saturday, as the first game is scheduled for a 11:05 a.m. Los Angeles time first pitch while the second game is slated for a 5.05 p.m. start.
The Dodgers will stick to their original plan and send out Ross Stripling to start the early game while the Nationals counter with righty Tanner Roark. In the late game, Los Angeles will start veteran lefty while the Nationals will run out perennial Cy Young candidate Max Scherzer.
There’s still rain in the forecast, but while there is indeed a chance either game may be affected by the weather, there’s an equal chance that both games are played. Most of the precipitation on the radar is light, so it could be one of those long drawn out days where there’s a few lengthy delays mixed with game action. This weekend is the only occasion this year when the Dodgers are in D.C., so officials will likely do everything possible to assure both games get in the books.
“Pretty confident,” Roberts said about Saturday’s schedule. “Whether we have to delay a little bit the first game and make a long day even longer potentially, I think we’re confident we’ll get all three in this weekend.”
As much as the bullpen has been a hindrance for the Dodgers this year, a few reinforcements will be added to the relief crew on Saturday. Lefty Tony Cingrani is expected to be activated from the 10-day disabled list before the early game, and the team also anticipates adding newly acquired righty Erik Goeddel to the roster by way of the 26th man rule. Cingrani had been on the shelf with left shoulder inflammation while Goeddel was claimed off waivers from the Mariners on Friday.
While the Nationals may have a slight advantage in the starting pitching department, both teams have been hammered by injuries. Conceivably, the Nats may be a bit worse off than the Dodgers—at least in terms of position players—as regular catcher Matt Wieters recently underwent hamstring surgery, while other impact players like Daniel Murphy, Adam Eaton and Ryan Zimmerman still remain on the disabled list.
Another interesting note is the lineup that Roberts had compiled for Friday’s postponed game against Scherzer. Joc Pederson was inked in as the leadoff batter while Cody Bellinger was set to bat second and play center field, creating yet another completely different look the club hasn’t shown this year. Catcher Yasmani Grandal was penciled in to hit cleanup with utility man Max Muncy hitting fifth and playing first base. Veteran outfielder Matt Kemp, who leads the team in hitting with a .318 average, has struggled against Scherzer over the course of his career and was scheduled for a day off.
For what it’s worth, Roark, who has a career 3.41 ERA and a 3.85 FIP, is 0-1 against the Dodgers in three appearances, one of which was a start.