ST. LOUIS -- Daniel Hudson never really considered the alternative. Sure, he and his wife, Sara, did not plan to have their third child in the middle of the postseason, but he knew he would be there no matter what. He tried to plan as well as possible: A 7
ST. LOUIS -- Daniel Hudson never really considered the alternative. Sure, he and his wife, Sara, did not plan to have their third child in the middle of the postseason, but he knew he would be there no matter what. He tried to plan as well as possible: A 7 a.m. PT flight from Los Angeles the morning after Game 5 of the National League Division Series, to his home in Phoenix, where the couple planned that labor would be induced on Thursday. But sometimes, life happens, and the couple’s new daughter, Millie, was not born until Friday morning.
So, Hudson spent the start of the NL Championship Series on the paternity list, watching from afar in a postpartum room as Aníbal Sánchez nearly tossed a no-hitter in the Nationals’ 2-0 victory in Game 1. And then on Saturday morning, he hopped on a 6 a.m. flight out of Phoenix. He arrived in St. Louis around 11 a.m. CT and was activated off the paternity list in time for Game 2, without a ton of sleep, and several hours later collected his third save of the 2019 postseason.
Hudson faced only two batters in preserving the Nationals' 3-1 victory on Saturday, but those two batters were the Cardinals' top offensive threats. Hudson got Paul Goldschmidt to fly out and then got Marcell Ozuna to hit a pop foul for the final out.
“To be able to have that experience with my family and be there for the whole thing was everything I could have imagined,” Hudson said prior to Game 2. “Obviously, it is my third kid. And Top 3 things in my life, 1A, 1B and 1C are -- was being there for the birth of all three of my daughters.”
Hudson is the first person to go on postseason paternity leave, which allows players one to three days away from the team. The Nationals’ bullpen is short on reliable relievers, outside of Hudson and Sean Doolittle, but even before Sánchez’s gem rendered that moot, there wasn’t much discussion. Family comes first, manager Dave Martinez reminded him, and the organization was behind his decision to fly to Phoenix and miss Game 1.
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The decision also caught some backlash, mostly in the form of social media noise. Hudson got rid of social media a few years ago, but watching the broadcast of the game made it hard to ignore.
“I went from not having a job on March 21 to this huge national conversation on family values going into the playoffs,” Hudson said. “Like, hey, life comes at you fast, man. I don't know how that happened and how I became the face for whatever conversation was going on.”
Hudson added: “I didn't know that this was a new thing to have a playoff paternity leave list. I had no idea. I was, like, I can't be the only person to have a baby in the middle of the postseason. And for it to blow up like it did, man, it's kind of crazy. But I didn't really give much thought about not going. My family is top priority for me. I heard somebody say one time baseball's what I do, it's not who I am. … Once I had kids, it really resonated with me.”
After the conclusion of Game 1, Martinez sent the Hudsons a text message, giving them a suggestion for the name of their newborn daughter: Aníbala Sean Hudson.
“My wife got a good kick out of that,” Hudson said with a laugh. “That was pretty funny.”
Nats reveal reminder of NLCS rotation
The Nationals revealed the rest of their postseason rotation for Games 3 and 4 on Saturday, lining up Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin to take the ball in D.C. on regular rest.
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Strasburg returns to the mound for the first time since his start in Game 5 of the NLDS against the Dodgers, when he survived a rocky opening to toss six innings of three-run ball with seven strikeouts. Corbin made one start in the NLDS, but appeared out of the bullpen twice during the series, tossing eight innings but allowing eight runs (seven earned) with 14 strikeouts and seven walks. He also threw two pitches in the ninth inning of NLCS Game 2 on Saturday, getting Kolton Wong to ground out before being relieved by Hudson.
Strasburg’s start in Game 3 would allow him to come back and start a potential Game 7 in St. Louis, if necessary. Meanwhile, Corbin would almost certainly be available in the bullpen for Games 6 and 7 if the Nats needed him.
Jamal Collier has covered the Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.