|1:05 PM PT2:05 PM MT3:05 PM CT4:05 PM ET16:05 ET20:05 GMT4:05 1:05 PM MST3:05 PM EST3:35 PM VEN0:05 UAE (+1)3:05 PM CT, September 28, 2019
Nationals Park, Washington, District of Columbia Attendance: 38,435
Nats host Indians looking to clinch top NL wild card
The Washington Nationals can clinch home-field advantage for the National League wild-card game when they host the Cleveland Indians on Saturday.
The Nationals improved to 91-69 with an 8-2 win over the Cleveland Indians on Friday. Their magic number to clinch home field against the Brewers (89-71) or the Cardinals (90-69) is down to one after Milwaukee's loss to Colorado on Friday night.
Washington is rolling through the final week of the season, having won six straight and eight of nine.
"I trust this team a lot," Nationals infielder Asdrubal Cabrera told MASN.com after his pinch-hit double keyed a five-run sixth inning Friday night. "We've been playing really good all year, (so) this doesn't surprise me. We've got the team to do what we're doing right now."
Cleveland's playoff chase came to an end on Friday night, when the Indians (93-67) dropped their third straight game and Tampa Bay (96-64) locked up the second American League wild-card spot with a 6-2 win at Toronto.
The Indians were outscored 24-5 over the past three games.
"It's been a tough three days for some guys," manager Terry Francona said. "You win and lose as a group, and I'll always feel that way. We leaned on those guys heavy, and I think they're probably dragging. ... They're about out of gas."
Washington manager Dave Martinez said Max Scherzer will start the Tuesday night wild-card game. Among those available out of the bullpen will be Stephen Strasburg and Saturday's starter, left-hander Patrick Corbin (14-7, 3.05 ERA).
Corbin is 4-1 in his past five starts and 5-2 in his past seven. On Monday, he gave up one run over six innings in a win over the Philadelphia Phillies. He has pitched to a 1.97 ERA at Nationals Park this season, allowing two or fewer runs in 13 of 15 home starts.
Corbin threw six scoreless innings for a win in his only career start against Cleveland, in 2017.
Indians right-hander Adam Plutko (7-4, 4.25) will be making his second straight interleague start. He allowed one run on four hits in 4 1/3 innings Sunday in a no-decision against the Phillies.
Gerardo Parra had three hits including a home run and drove in four runs in the Nationals' win on Friday night. Parra had a solo homer, a two-run double and a sacrifice fly. He is 4-for-6 in his past two games after enduring a 3-for-49 slump.
"I want to get him going, because he's going to have a big at-bat in this postseason," Martinez said, according to MLB.com. "And I know he will. We have to get all these guys going."
Trea Turner's two-run homer capped a five-run sixth inning for Washington on Friday.
Washington rookie starter Austin Voth (2-1) allowed two runs on two hits over six innings, striking out five without a walk. Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki (right elbow inflammation) made his first start in more than two weeks and went 1-for-3 with two runs.
The Indians rallied to tie the game at 2-2 but ultimately managed only three hits.
"We did the best we could, and unfortunately we didn't produce towards the last three games," Cleveland's Oscar Mercado said. "I can't give you an exact reason. I think it just happens. It's the way things go. You have to accept it and move on."
--Field Level Media
Updated September 28, 2019