LOS ANGELES — The outcome of the Cubs-Giants NL playoff wasn’t the only thing in doubt when those teams played late into the night on the West Coast.
The start time for Game 4 of the Nationals-Dodgers series on Tuesday was also undecided.
Still functioning on East Coast time, Nationals manager Dusty Baker went to bed after watching Chicago’s Kris Bryant homer to tie the game in the ninth inning Monday night. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts lasted a bit longer, hanging in until the 11th.
The Giants rallied to win 6-5 in 13 innings shortly before midnight Pacific time, determining the Nationals-Dodgers game would start at 2:05 p.m. PDT. If the Cubs had clinched the series with a victory, the game in Los Angeles would have started three hours later.
In this age of instant communication, Roberts hopped on social media to find out the result.
“I set my alarm early and if it would have been the other way, I would have gone back to sleep,” he said.
Roberts’ 67-year-old counterpart did the same.
“I woke up in the middle of the night, used the bathroom, looked at ESPN and saw that the Giants had won,” Baker said.
Rob Segedin was up taking care of his 1½-month-old son. Although the infielder isn’t on the Dodgers’ roster for the NLDS, he still needs to be at the ballpark.
“I was watching the game and I found out what time our game was today from the TV commentators,” he said. “Then I started figuring out what time I had to get up.”
Both teams knew there were two scenarios: either a day or early evening start.
“I don’t know how they found out,” Baker said of his players, “but I’m sure they did. Communication isn’t a problem around here.”
The Nationals and Dodgers are already operating on a compressed schedule in their series. Game 2 was rained out last Saturday in Washington, forcing it to be played Sunday, a scheduled travel day.
So instead of getting a day off between Games 2 and 3, the teams will have played three straight days by Tuesday.
If Game 5 is necessary, the teams would travel Wednesday to Washington, where the series would conclude Thursday.
“In this game, only the strong-willed and the strong-minded people do well and survive,” Baker said.