Manager Dave Martinez said he preferred for Suzuki, who has not played since Game 3 on Friday after injuring his right hip flexor, to be available off the bench rather than start him and risk reaggravating it.
Suzuki, 36, is 3-for-30 this postseason, but he went 2-for-5 with a homer against Justin Verlander in Washington's 12-3 victory in Game 2 last Wednesday. He appeared on track to start Game 7 and catch Max Scherzer, whom he was normally paired with during the season, before the Nats elected to remain cautious.
While Suzuki had worked with Scherzer in all five of his postseason outings, Scherzer also has experience pitching to Gomes, who is a superior defensive catcher and pitch framer. Suzuki’s best contribution to the club remains his bat, and he should be available to pinch-hit if needed.
In 16 regular-season games with Suzuki behind the plate, Scherzer posted a 2.08 ERA in 99 2/3 innings. He compiled a 4.09 ERA in 72 2/3 innings with Gomes.
“I felt it would be best to just keep him on the bench," Martinez said. "Starting him, [if] all of a sudden third or fourth inning he tightens up again, things may get a little hairy.
"Yan is playing good. Yan has caught Max before. I like Suzuki coming off the bench if need be, to pinch-hit or even to catch. So we did it that way."