Nick is an author of Baseball Prospectus and the co-editor in chief of BP South Side.
Nick Schaefer: Delayed slightly due to technical difficulties but here in time for first pitch!
bagman928 (Underneath my couch): Is Scherzer an inevitability tonight?
Nick Schaefer: There are a few scenarios where he's not, right? One would be if Gio throws a masterpiece and the Nats have a 3-5 run lead, or at least Gio gets it to Doolittle & Madson.
Other would be if the Nationals are up huge throughout.
Earl (NY): Is Brandon Nimmo kind of interesting?
Nick Schaefer: Sure. Former first round pick who has shown he can cover CF in a pinch and takes a ton of walks. I think he's probably a really nice 4th outfielder or a starting corner outfielder you're always trying to replace if you can, but as far as White Sox fan standards go that's kind of interesting.
Ken (Palo Alto): How would you sort out the A's rotation next season? Sean Manaea and Kendall Graveman are the only two locks. You've got Frankie Montas, Raul Alcantara, and Jesse Hahn, who are all out of options. The 4A pitchers - Daniel Gossett, Paul Blackburn, and then Andrew Triggs and Daniel Mengden who showed promise in short stints. And Jharel Cotton who looks great when he isn't giving up homers by the truckload.
Nick Schaefer: I think Triggs / Blackburn / Mengden have at least earned a shot at it if they're healthy when the season starts. Montas has to be a reliever at this point, no? I might see how Cotton looks in relief also.
jfegan (Chicago, IL): In the spirit of the evening, what is your most public humiliation in the Washington, D.C. area?
Nick Schaefer: I have not been in DC all that often in the grand scheme of things. I think it was likely simultaneously trying to wait until the very last second of a one possession Washington-Eagles game after hours of tailgating etc. and as soon as the game ended sprinting to the car to beat traffic? That was dumb. Can't have it both ways.
jfegan (Chicago, IL): In honor of Trea Turner's tag, what's your most haunting missed connection in life?
Nick Schaefer: As Turner didn't tag anyone so far tonight, I assume you are referring to some other Nationals game.
rschultzy20 (st. louis): Who/what are you rooting for tonight?
Nick Schaefer: Fair question. It's kind of meanspirited to have a White Sox fan writing on a Cubs elimination game, especially when I'm already partial to (and sympathetic for) the Nationals so...
K. Williams (Chicago, IL): Please grade all the Gio Gonzalez's trades
Nick Schaefer: The first one, where the White Sox got Jim Thome, was fantastic! Tough to give up Rowand and Gio but hey, Jim.
And then they got Gio back for Freddy Garcia who was fairly cooked at that point--nice work! Especially with Gavin Floyd too.
Heck, even trading him with De Los Santos and Sweeney for Swisher wasn't the woooooorst idea. It became the worst idea ever when Swisher was traded for a pile of old TV guides though. What were you doing, Kenneth?
Evilbeard (Indiana): Who is your favorite Gonzalez?
Nick Schaefer: All time or active?
I think all time I'd have to say Juan. Growing up in the 90s he was such an entertaining hitter. And yeah, RBIs are whatever, but dingers are dingers.
Active I have to go with Miguel. I'm kind of hoping the White Sox bring him back next year, his tenure in Texas notwithstanding.
Matt (PHX): Is Dusty Baker batting Jason Werth at the top of his lineup stupid, or actually way too advanced for us not-in-the-game people to comprehend?
Nick Schaefer: So if the 2016 v. 2017 Nationals taught us anything it's that the intangibles of a clubhouse do impact things. Think of anytime you worked for a manager you really didn't like in your job v. one that you really did / respected / wanted to succeed for. Some of that may be at play here.
I also think Werth gets dumped on too much, because I think he was better over the course of that contract than people act like.
AND they've lost Adam Eaton, so one wonders how things would have gone if that hadn't happened.
ALL of that said...man it sure seems objectively wrong, no? The game keeps finding him, if you pardon the cliche, and I think it's pretty well-settled at this point you put your best hitter second, and the Nationals aren't short of superlative hitters to put there.
Craig (DC): What's your take on the Cubs outfield for this one. I get going with Heyward for defense but with Jay and Almora, maybe you accept the tradeoff for Schwarber's offense?
Nick Schaefer: Is the idea that you're confident you can get to Gonzalez, and want to stay ahead in case they bring in Scherzer out of desperation, and then you have Schwarber to pinch hit if you're behind? Other than reaching for some explanation about batted ball data for this matchup / copping out and saying maybe Schwarber isn't 100%.
If it's just generally "This is our best alignment" it feels kind of like a repudiation of how they've handled Schwarber, right?
Craig (DC): with Kyle Hendricks and Carl Edwards, Jr., the Cubs have the two most racecar driver names in baseball. This isn't a question.
Nick Schaefer: Daniel Murphy is a seasoned detective and Tanner Roark is the naive, but enthusiastic rookie he's training.
AaronGleeman (Minnesota): I was wondering if you, or more specifically Craig Goldstein, had any thoughts about Twins prospect Wander Javier?
Nick Schaefer: Not all those who Wander are lost.
But most people who are in rookie ball are. So we'll see what happens when he gets to like, I dunno, High-A in two years!
cowhitchurch (Austin TX): Would Gio Gonzalez be cooler, less cool, or the same amount of cool if he went by Giovany?
Nick Schaefer: I struggle with converting names /words from other languages into English. Do you do native pronunciation or adapt it? I took two semesters of Italian and "Gio" should basically be pronounced "Joe" not "Gee-oh." So either way I'll be annoyed but not confident about it.
Craig (DC): So you're saying we should call him Joe Gonzalez
Nick Schaefer: "Sloppy" Joe Gonzalez
jfegan (Chicago, IL): Why is Kyle Hendricks blowing on his fingers?
Nick Schaefer: I have it on good* authority that Kyle likes to roleplay as though he is Doc Holliday from "Tombstone."
Mike Musary (Illinois): What do you think is the probability that we just witnessed Avisail Garcia's best season he'll ever have in Major League Baseball? Between what I believe is an inevitable switch in baseballs and Garcia's inflated BABIP, I am very skeptical of his ability to repeat this season's success.
Nick Schaefer: He's certainly capable of a high BABIP. He hits to opposite field a lot and runs freaking hard and fast out of the box. But .390 is a big ask. He could certainly luck his way to another such season, of course, but I think .330-.350 is more "normal" for him, until he slows down.
Still, so thrilled he improved to "adequate" on defense, means he could regress on batted ball luck and still be a 2-3 win player, which...is a lot better than it looked for a long time.
Craig (DC): With Lester being used yesterday, what do you do in relief now if you're Chicago? How do you get to 9 innings?
Nick Schaefer: QUINTANA
cowhitchurch (Austin, TX): Is it Jose Quintana time?
Nick Schaefer: I guess you try to let Hendricks muddle through with the bases empty (now that Taylor killed that rally, am I right?) and if he gets out maybe give him another clean slate next inning, especially if you score some runs.
If he lets a few more guys on base though that has to be it, right?
Craig (DC): How long do you think that Other Michael Taylor is gonna make us click an extra time when searching for Michael A. Taylor? I'm still mad about the Nationals Jose Altuve.
Nick Schaefer: Ditto Ryan Braun: Pitcher and Jose Abreu: Twins Pitcher. I should really do a live auction draft so I can at least trick people with this nonsense.
cowhitchurch (Austin, TX): Michael A. Taylor looks way too much like Edgar Renteria.
Nick Schaefer: My playoff memories of Edgar Renteria involve him getting owned in the 2005 ALDS, not smoking Kyle Hendricks.
Mike Musary (Illinois): Can we confidently conclude Jose Quintana is great and very lovable as a player?
Nick Schaefer: If anybody disagrees, not only should you dislike and distrust them, I think you can report them to the police for suspicious behavior.
Mike Musary (Illinois): I bet the Nationals money line -110, should I hedge my bet by betting on the live Cubs money line at +335?
Nick Schaefer: I was about to type "yes" but then Werth smashed another extra base hit.
Craig (DC): Offended that Collin said Edgar Renteria when we have All Accepted that he looks like Marlo Stanfield
Nick Schaefer: Gives me another opportunity to vent -- people who pronounce "Mario," particularly in the context of Super Mario, as "Mare-ee-oh" instead of "Mah-ree-oh." The guy says his own name! We have more than text to go on!
Craig (DC): None of the Matt Wieters memes as a prospect remotely mentioned his bunting for base hit abilities
Nick Schaefer: PECOTA's biggest failing is not projecting bunt hit %s in playoffs.
cowhitchurch (Austin, TX): Go back for us and analyze both times the White Sox traded Gio Gonzalez.
Nick Schaefer: They would've been better off just keeping Ryan Sweeney let alone Gio.
Craig (DC): This has nothing to do with anything except I just saw the commercial but finding out Arby's was just RBs (Roast Beef) was such a downer, man
Nick Schaefer: I love Ving Rhames but even his voiceovers can only do so much to heal the wounds.
cowhitchurch (Austin, TX): As a fellow Nicky, do you agree that Craig needs to do something about getting Delmonico's BP player card to say "Nicky" instead of "Nick?"
Nick Schaefer: Just popped "Nicky" into the BP search and it only pulled up three names, two of which are listed as true Nickyies.
...that's the plural for Nicky right?
Craig (DC): NOT GONNA HAPPEN COLLBOT
Nick Schaefer: Everybody needs to follow @cowhitchurchbot, and Collin -- get that thing to reply.
rschultzy20 (st. louis): which jose abreu is your favorite?
Nick Schaefer: The one who somehow hit the second most triples on the White Sox this year.
Matt (PHX): Do you find Ron Darling to be, in fact, darling?
Nick Schaefer: I was relieved to hear some Mets fans volunteer that he's so much better in the context of his Mets booth than on national broadcasts. I defer to people with good judgment who loves the Mets booth as a trio but man have I been underwhelmed over the years by his playoff commentary.
cowhitchurch (Austin, TX): Our "More surprising Garcia" question back in July spurred some pretty heated debate. Now that the season is done, the answer was pretty definitively Avisail, right?
Nick Schaefer: if Leury Garcia stays healthy and posts an .800 OPS with good defense in CF is it still, though? Leury was also coming from a worse baseline.
Craig (DC): Sometimes I like to imagine managers in other high-pressure situations. Like for example, right now Dusty Baker could be a surgeon and there's just profuse bleeding for three minutes straight and he *just now* asked for clamps.*
*I don't know anything about medicine.
Nick Schaefer: Dusty Baker's platoon is stuck behind enemy lines and he won't let his troops use grenades even though they're surrounded.
Dusty Baker is a fireman slowly looking back and forth between an extinguisher and a hose as flames creep up toward the gas line.
Dusty Baker is those characters from "The Day After Tomorrow" who are stuck in the New York Public Library burning books to keep warm and debating the preservation of a Gutenberg Bible rather than burning the hundreds of wooden tables we see them walk past to harvest books.
Craig (DC): How many more times do you need to see the Sweet Caroline commercial before committing a violent crime?
Nick Schaefer: Don't Wikipedia what that song is about.
Matt (PHX): Does it trouble you that everybody overlooks Jose Abreu's 100% success rate in stolen bases for 2017?
Nick Schaefer: Jose Abreu is underrated in every respect.
bmmolter (MA): When do the top 10s start rolling out?
Nick Schaefer: Best bet would be check when last year's came out and I'd expect similar date. I'm really excited to see them this year and not just because the White Sox one figures to be really fun.
cowhitchurch (Austin, TX): What would the score be right now if Adam Eaton were healthy?
Nick Schaefer: It would still be the bottom of the first as the Nationals reenacted that Loony Toons bit.
rschultzy20 (stl): Why are people so quick to judge Baker's decisions but totally okay with Maddon's despite them being very similar at least in the context of this game?
Nick Schaefer: Narrative is a crazy powerful thing even when we have objective numbers to measure them. Then you get to something as squishy as the impact of a manager and there is nothing to stand against the might of whatever narratives you want.
Dusty did some bad tactical things with the Cubs and Reds, and we've seen even good managers like Girardi have apocalyptic meltdowns.
I think Maddon is, in some respects, overrated as a tactician. And players freaking love playing for Dusty Baker and he frequently gets their best.
Craig (DC): You can tell bmmolter the first list is tentatively scheduled for Nov 6 right now. Shouldn't shift too much from that date.
Nick Schaefer: Remember remember the sixth of November.
cowhitchurch (Austin, TX): Remember when Matt Albers hit a go-ahead RBI double against the Mets?
Nick Schaefer: Of course, I have a memory like a cat.
Matt (PHX): Who would your big game big reliever of choice be?
Nick Schaefer: Jon Rauch would be the biggest of relievers, I think. Well, Broxton, maybe?
Nick (Jersey): Is Minaya the closer on Opening Day?
Nick Schaefer: They're not signing anyone to be a closer. If Nate Jones is healthy it's him. I guess as it stands Minaya is somehow next in line.
Steve (Philly): I'm not from Chicago but is there a local TV show or at least gossip blog called the Deep Dish?
Nick Schaefer: I have never actually lived in the Chicago area! But if there aren't at least 200 morning shows on radio and TV and free magazine handouts or whatever with names based on that I would be staggered. Weirder than Matt Albers preserving a 1-run lead in an elimination game.
Rob Mains (MY basement, not my mom's, dammit): Seeing a lot of Ernie hate on Twitter. Do you have a preferred national broadcast team?
Nick Schaefer: I wish we could get John Miller back in the national booth. I'm a big fan of Jessica Mendoza. I think the thing that is probably most galling about Ernie isn't him in and of himself, but rather that it feels lazy. "Oh we have this announcer guy around, he'll do whatever." There are soooo many more people who I think would be talented announcers than there are jobs available, it feels like a missed opportunity.
rschultzy20 (stl): Do you think the future good White Sox will ever blow a 3-1 lead?
Nick Schaefer: In a game? Sure.
cowhitchurch (Austin, TX): Randy Johnson had two career saves.
Nick Schaefer: Rauch was an inch taller and 70 pounds heavier if you believe Baseball Reference.
cowhitchurch (Austin, TX): What's the most heartbreaking way the Nationals can lose this game?
Nick Schaefer: Anything involving Bryce Harper getting injured as the Cubs clinch.
cowhitchurch (Austin, TX): Why does big have to be tall, though? When I think of big closer options i like to think of Rich Garces, personally.
Nick Schaefer: Rauch is big *and* hefty. Why are you fighting me on this.
rschultzy20 (stl): Where do you think Harper signs? Do you think it's possible he avoids the Yankees simply to keep his hair and beard?
Nick Schaefer: Signs with the Angels to play with Trout and Otani.
BeefLoaf (Section 108): First time, long time, how many plate appearances do you give Matt "Frosty" Davidson on the 2018 White Sox (ps, I'd give him 0)?
Nick Schaefer: I am just confused as to who needs those PAs such that you can't give Davidson a shot to see if he can get his OBP up to the .300-.310 range where he's a contributor.
Ramy O (PureMI): If the 2003 Tigers played the 1962 Mets who would win? And would Hiram Bocachica be the MVP?
Nick Schaefer: Are you sure you're Pure Michigan with this Dmitri Young shade?
For all that we were bagging on Baker earlier for leaving Gio Gonzalez in, Maddon has dodged some ridiculous bullets with Hendricks going this far. Scherzer in.
cowhitchurch (Austin, TX): I just really like fat athletes, alright?
Nick Schaefer: You're missing a very obvious portmanteau here.
Nick Schaefer: We're 2.5 hours in, but somehow the game is only in the 5th inning. Going to have to call it there, but man, the Nationals have had some hard luck here. Hope they can make a game of it from here.
Thanks for joining me tonight, feel free to find me on Twitter at @Nick_BPSS and chat with Trevor Strunk on the 17th!