Dan's Dugout: Health Will Dictate Playoff Champs • Latino Sports

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Dan’s Dugout: Health Will Dictate Playoff Champs

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With two key men out and another hurting, the Washington Nationals will have a tough time reaching the World Series for the first time in franchise history.

Catcher Wilson Ramos tore up his knee while trying to make a catch on a wet surface a few days ago, while No. 2 starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg is dealing with a strained right forearm.

Bryce Harper hopes to give the Nationals thumbs up Photo Credit: Frank Hyatt / Latino Sports

Bryce Harper hopes to give the Nationals thumbs up
Photo Credit: Frank Hyatt / Latino Sports

Throw in Bryce Harper’s hurting thumb and the Nats face a potent witches brew more than a month before Halloween.

Strasburg is almost certainly out for the the NL Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, while Ramos needs surgery on his knee for the second time. Harper’s swing, hardly the same as it was during his 2015 MVP campaign, certainly won’t be helped by the pain he is feeling.

Throw in Ryan Zimmerman’s season-long slump and the Gnats no longer have their usual sting. To win, they have to hope Max Scherzer can beat Clayton Kershaw twice and still win another game. It won’t be easy.

The Nats are not alone in the nurse’s quarters.

The Texas Rangers, who used to play in Washington, say Shin-Soo Choo (fractured forearm) may be able to participate in the playoffs after all. He’s been out since he suffered the injury when hit by a pitch in August.

Two wild-card contenders, the New York Mets and Toronto Blue Jays, lost key players this week. Matz

Southpaw Steven Matz is out for the playoffs after elbow surgery

Southpaw Steven Matz is out for the playoffs after elbow surgery

of the Mets, also known as lefthanded starter Steven Matz, needs surgery to remove a bone spur from his elbow, while the Jays got a jolt when set-up man Joaquin Benoit tore his calf muscle while racing in to join a brawl. In other words, both pitchers are down for the playoffs.

In crunch time, it’s not always the best team that wins but the healthiest.

That scenario favors the Dodgers, who had 27 men – including the invaluable Kershaw – on the disabled list this season but seem solid now, with the exception of lefthanded starter Hyun-Jin Ryu (elbow surgery Wednesday) . . .

It also helps the Chicago Cubs, who have vaulted over the 100-win mark in their best season since their halcyon days during the first decade of the 20th century.

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About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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