On Saturday afternoon, the Dodgers won their game against the Giants and grabbed the last National League playoff spot. Amidst the small celebration of clinching their sixth straight postseason appearance, the Dodgers still had not announced their starting pitcher for Sunday’s season finale as they were waiting for the result from Coors Field.
Rich Hill said he planned to go to dinner and wait for a text (whether he might be pitching Sunday). Walker Buehler said he’s preparing to start. Still TBD— Eric Stephen (@ericstephen) September 30, 2018
The Nationals ended the Rockies eight-game winning streak and thus, the Dodgers and Rockies were tied for first. But that wasn’t the only news from Denver. After that game was finished, word came out that the Nationals had decided not to start Max Scherzer against the Rockies on Sunday.
According to National’s beat writer Chelsea Janes, Scherzer “was surprised the Nationals were considering starting him in the finale, but he agreed. He, Martinez, and general manager Mike Rizzo decided that if the game could eliminate a team from playoff contention, he would pitch it. If the game had playoff implications, he would probably pitch it.”
However once both the Dodgers and Rockies clinched their playoff spots and the Cardinals were eliminated, the Nationals decided to sit Scherzer and start Erick Fedde.
The logic here was if either Dodgers or Rockies could be eliminated, Scherzer would pitch. Since they’re both in no matter what, Nats won’t take the chance. https://t.co/SI3x2kEBPm— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) September 30, 2018
A few hours later, the Dodgers informed the media that they had decided on Sunday’s starting pitcher.
Dodgers say Rich Hill starts Sunday, by the way— Eric Stephen (@ericstephen) September 30, 2018
Let’s get this out of the way, if the Dodgers win on Sunday, the worst-case scenario is a game on Monday at Dodger Stadium to determine who hosts the National League Divisional Series against the Atlanta Braves.
Dodgers scenarios for Game 162 pic.twitter.com/4I6VmnM6Tw— Eric Stephen (@ericstephen) September 30, 2018
Given that none of the five National League playoff participants know for sure where they will be playing their first official 2018 National League postseason game, Sunday should be filled with plenty of scoreboard watching.
Sunday’s Games with National League Playoff Implications
12:05 p.m. PDT: Dodgers (Rich Hill) at Giants (Andrew Suárez)
12:05 p.m.: Braves (Kevin Gausman) at Phillies (Ranger Suárez)
12:10 p.m.: Rockies (Tyler Anderson) vs. Nationals (Erick Fedde)
12:15 p.m.: Cubs (Mike Montgomery) vs. Cardinals (Jack Flaherty)