Davey Johnson has not finalized the fringes of the Nationals’ playoff roster, at least not publicly, but today he gave a general idea of how the Nationals will look in their first series (assuming they avoid a mega collapse and don’t win the NL East). He’ll carry four starters, and he’ll use the extra roster spot for an eighth reliever.
The decision to use an extra reliever is not a philosophical choice for Johnson, but rather the right fit for this particular roster, in his mind.
“It just depends on the team,” Johnson said. “I don’t have any platoon situations in there, and I don’t have anybody I’m going to be pinch-hitting for. So I don’t need a big bench. More times than not, you need that extra pitcher.”
Christian Garcia seems like the clear choice to become the Nationals’ extra choice, given his often dominant performance since his call-up. As for the makeup of the bullpen, Johnson said, “it depends on the hot hands going in. Sometimes a guy might not be quite 100 percent, so you may pick another guy.”
The construction of the bench and bullpen could depend on the opponent, too, Johnson said. “A lot of it is how we match up. Every club is different.” Still, Johnson did not anticipate making any chances between series, should the Nationals advance.