Oct 11, 2012, 5:16 PM EDT
Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nationals need to win today to keep their season alive.
And so it has come to this. A Nationals team that won 98 games in the regular season now must win one game today to keep its season alive and force a winner-take-all Game 5 against the Cardinals tomorrow night. It's not a position the Nats expected to be in, but it's not one they're cowering from.
"You can't take it for granted at any time, whether you're up or down or whatever, that it's over," Davey Johnson said this morning. "That room over there, the guys I've got, they have that mindset. You take nothing for granted. We don't feel like we are out of this by a long shot, believe me."
Johnson didn't believe it was appropriate to make any changes to his lineup for this do-or-die game, but he admitted he will have a different managing strategy than he's had all year. Ross Detwiler will have a very short leash, and if the left-hander gets into any trouble early, Johnson will turn to a surprising face out of the bullpen: Jordan Zimmermann, who is available four days after throwing 63 pitches at Busch Stadium.
Johnson doesn't plan to hold any team meeting before the game, but veteran Mark DeRosa suggested last night he might have a few words for his teammates, underscoring the need to play with some urgency today. Whether any of that makes a difference on the field remains to be seen.
Either way, it's going to be an eventful late afternoon and early evening at the ballpark. If you can't attend in person, we've got you covered right here with live updates and analysis throughout…
NATIONAL LEAGUE DIVISION SERIES – GAME 4
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 4:07 p.m. EDT
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), WSPZ (570 AM), XM 186
Weather: Sunny, 61 degrees, Wind 6 mph out to CF
RF Jayson Werth
CF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS
NL POSTSEASON SCHEDULE
WED: Giants at Pirates, 8:07 p.m. (ESPN)
FRI: Game 1, Pirates at Nats, 12:07 p.m.,
OR Giants at Nats, 3:07 p.m. (FS1)
SAT: Game 2, PIT/SF at Nats, 5:37 p.m. (FS1)
MON: Game 3, Nats at PIT/SF, TBA (MLBN)
OCT. 7: Game 4, Nats at PIT/SF, TBA (FS1)*
OCT. 9: Game 5, PIT/SF at Nats, TBA (FS1)*
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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- Zimmermann spoils McCatty's plan for Sunday (VIDEO)