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More thoughts from the Nats' wild win

More thoughts from the Nats' wild win

Some leftover thoughts from last night's remarkable ballgame, now that I've had a chance to get some rest and come back with a clear mind...

-- Everyone's been trying to figure out what Dan Uggla's thought process was on the final play of the game, and what he should have done differently. It was a big topic of discussion inside the Nationals' clubhouse as well.

Did the Braves second baseman have a shot at an inning-ending double play? And if so, was his best chance to tag Kurt Suzuki and then throw to first or throw to second base and have Paul Janish complete the standard 4-6-3 twin-killing? Or should he have simply given up on the idea and just thrown to the plate to get Danny Espinosa?

Here's what Espinosa (a second baseman himself, obviously) said when I asked him if he empathized with Uggla on a play like that: "Yeah, I do. Because when you're playing infield in like that and it's a hot shot and you maybe don't field it cleanly or whatever, then you're immediately thinking the ball got to you so quick you might have a chance for a double play. I'm sure that's what he thought. But that's a tough play. He hits the ball hard. He dives, makes a good play to keep the ball in the infield."

In the end, Uggla still believed the double play was his best option.

"If I had to do it over, I'd have jumped up and found Kurt and tagged him and ran and touched first," he told Atlanta reporters.

-- You may have already gone to bed by the time it was announced, but there was a scoring change on that final play. It was originally ruled an error on Uggla, but about 15 minutes later, the scorer changed the call to a base hit and an RBI for Tracy.

You can debate whether that was the right call or not -- personally, I think the whole thing should have just been scored a fielder's choice, because clearly Uggla was trying to decide which choice made the most sense for him in that moment -- but it's notable that by crediting Tracy with a hit, he's now got 10 pinch-hit RBI this season. That ranks second in the majors only to the Padres' Jesus Guzman (who has 11). Pretty remarkable when you consider Tracy missed two months following sports hernia surgery.

-- Jayson Werth had an eventful night in the field, including a couple of hold-your-breath moments during the top of the fifth. He had to come charging in to make a sliding catch of Michael Bourn's sinking liner, a play that looked awfully similar to the one in which he broke his left wrist back on May 6.

Four batters later, Werth got that same wrist caught in the chain-link fence that covers the out-of-town scoreboard in right-center and appeared to be in some pain.

"Just kind of jammed it into the fence," he said. "It's no big deal."

As for what he was thinking as he made the familiar-looking, sliding catch: "That was the first play I've had since I broke my wrist," he said. "Definitely was not really thinking about it, but was glad everything went well."

Werth explained that last night's play wasn't exactly like the one from May 6.

"It's a little bit different," he said. "The play that I broke it on was more of a line drive. That ball last night was coming straight down. But still, that's going to my left and sliding like that ... it's a play that I've made who knows how many times in my life. But unfortunately that one time it didn't work out so well."

-- Davey Johnson was asked who he'll have available out of his maxed-out bullpen for tonight's game. He insisted just about everyone (except for probably Craig Stammen) should be good to go, especially because the other guys all pitched only one inning.

Besides, Johnson sounded hopeful he wouldn't need any relievers all for this game.

"I'm going to go 9 with Stras anyway," he joked.

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Wilson Ramos' ACL tear devastating news for Nationals, his future

Wilson Ramos' ACL tear devastating news for Nationals, his future

When Wilson Ramos collapsed to the ground clutching his right knee behind the plate at Nationals Park on Monday night, the Nats feared the worst as it was the same leg in which he had his ACL and MCL repaired back in 2012. On Tuesday, an MRI confirmed those fears. Ramos tore his ACL again and is not only out for the entirety of the postseason, but most of next year as well.

It happened in the final week of the regular season with the Nats preparing for the playoffs. It also happened just over a month before Ramos is set to hit free agency for the first time in his career.

There is never a good time to tear an ACL, but one would be hard pressed to find a worse time for Ramos to do it than now.

“This close to playoffs, his option year. There’s never an opportune time, but this was the most inopportune time for this to happen at this point," manager Dusty Baker said.

"It's unfortunate. Wilson was having an All-Star season, really a breakout season for himself. It's disappointing. I feel bad for him," GM Mike Rizzo said. 

Ramos, 29, earned an All-Star nod this year and for good reason. He hit .307 with 22 homers and 80 RBI and emerged as one of the best catchers in baseball.

Now his future hangs in the balance, as it will be much harder to get a lucrative long-term deal in free agency.

Rizzo said it was too soon to know how Ramos can return from re-tearing his ACL.

"He just did it yesterday. We just got the diagnosis. We're going to see what the doctors say and we'll make our assessments after that," Rizzo said.

Baker spoke earlier this year about his hopes for the Nats to re-sign Ramos. On Tuesday he was asked about Ramos' future and alluded to that idea again.

"It’s time for us to, I think as a whole, maybe to take care of him, too, because he’s taken pretty good care of us,” Baker said.

Any decision about Ramos will be made months from now. In the short-term, the Nats have a playoff run to consider as they chase a World Series. In for Ramos will be backups Jose Lobaton and Pedro Severino. Both have filled in well at times this season, but Ramos is leaving big shoes to fill.

“All of our catchers are very good catchers. It’s just that he is not only the top offensive catcher on our team, a big part of our offense, he’s one of the top offensive catchers in baseball. We’ll really miss his offense," Baker said. "I think Loby and Severino can replace (him) on defense, but it’s up to some of the other guys to offset his loss on the offensive side of the ball.”

Lobaton is dealing with a minor right ankle injury, but said he is ready to step in. He was in the starting lineup for Tuesday night's game against the Diamondbacks.

Lobaton is a good friend and longtime teammate of Ramos and spoke to him after the injury was diagnosed.

"He was sad. Anybody can be sad in that moment, in that situation. He’s been playing good all year, doing really good for the team, and now you don’t have a chance to go with the team in the playoffs," Lobaton said. "It’s really sad for me, not only for me but for the team. We’re praying for him and that he can get better soon.”

It won't be easy to move forward without Ramos, but the Nationals have no choice at this point.

[RELATED: X-ray on Bryce Harper's left thumb brings good news]

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Nats' Stephen Strasburg unlikely to be ready for first round of playoffs

Nats' Stephen Strasburg unlikely to be ready for first round of playoffs

It's not looking good for starter Stephen Strasburg to be ready to face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Division Series next week, according to Nats general manager Mike Rizzo.

The Nats right-hander has been throwing off flat ground as part of his recovery from a right flexor mass strain. But he's running out of time with just over a week to go until Game 1.

"I think it would be kind of pushing it. I think that's fair to say," Rizzo said. With the calendar, it's unlikely that he will contribute in that first series."

Strasburg hasn't pitched since Sept. 7 when he sustained the injury in a game against the Atlanta Braves. It was his first start back off the disabled list after he dealt with right elbow soreness.

Strasburg, 28, made the All-Star team this season and is 15-4 with a 3.60 ERA in 24 starts. Without him, the Nationals will rely heavily on Max Scherzer and Tanner Roark in Games 1 and 2. Game 3 will likely go to either Gio Gonzalez or Joe Ross. The Nats have not determined whether Scherzer will pitch on short rest, but it does not sound like they are inclined to ask him to.

Manager Dusty Baker said on Tuesday it would not be his preference.

“I’d like not to do that on short rest because then what’s going to happen next round and the next round? He’s going to be on super short and then you’re risking injury. The other guys got to do their job," Baker said. "You can’t go to short rest on Max, to me, unless it’s just a dire emergency until late in the playoffs."

If the Nats are to advance to the NLCS, Game 1 would be on Oct. 15.

[RELATED: X-ray on Bryce Harper's left thumb brings good news]

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