WASHINGTON -- Two weeks after winning the National League East title, the Nationals learned Wednesday night that they will face the Giants in the NL Division Series starting Friday afternoon at 3:07 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1 at Nationals Park. San Francisco defeated the Pirates, 8-0, in the Wild Card Game.
The Nats had their way with the Giants in 2014, taking five out of seven games. Washington's best game against San Francisco happened on Aug. 24 at Nationals Park.
The Nationals showed they have a never-give-up mentality. They were down by five runs, but scored six in the sixth inning en route to a 14-6 victory.
The character of the Nats spoke volumes during the game, according to manager Matt Williams.
"They don't quit. They don't stop fighting. They feel it's important to apply pressure even if we are down," the skipper said. "Get some guys out there with opportunities. They did that again today. We did it by bunching base hits together. That will help you along the way. Homers happen, but the fact that they bunched base hits together says something about the approach and how they go about it."
The Nationals haven't played a game since Sunday, but they practiced Tuesday and Wednesday and will have a public workout Thursday afternoon. As expected, Williams announced that Stephen Strasburg will be the Game 1 starter, followed by Jordan Zimmermann and Doug Fister, and Gio Gonzalez, if necessary. The rotation is clearly the best in baseball, but the Nats can't overlook the fact that the Giants have improved their rotation by adding Jake Peavy, who had a 2.17 ERA in 12 starts with San Francisco.
Before the series starts, the Nationals must decide what to do with Ryan Zimmerman. He will be on the playoff roster, but it's not known what his role will be. Since Zimmerman returned from a right hamstring injury, he has played left field and first base. He has not played a game at third base. Zimmerman could start the postseason on the bench.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.