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NATS TO SEND STRASBURG VS. PEAVY

Times wires

WASHINGTON - RHP Stephen Strasburg grew up in San Diego, admiring then-Padres RHP Jake Peavy. They've become friends, working out together in the offseason, chatting, trading text messages.

When Strasburg, 26, makes his first postseason start today for the Nationals, two years after being shut down during the playoffs, Peavy, 33, will go for the Giants in their best-of-five NL Division Series opener. "I'm just excited for getting a chance to pitch in the postseason," Strasburg said Thursday. "It doesn't really matter who I'm facing."

RHP Jordan Zimmermann, who threw a no-hitter in Sunday's regular-season finale, will start Game 2 on Saturday against RHP Tim Hudson. RHP Doug Fister will start Game 3 at San Francisco against LHP Madison Bumgarner, who pitched a four-hit shutout in the Giants' 8-0 wild-card victory against Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

Neither manager said who would pitch a Game 4, but Washington RHP Tanner Roark said he would be in the bullpen, which means LHP Gio Gonzalez stays in the rotation.

Dodgers-Cardinals: The Dodgers are sending LHP Clayton Kershaw against Cardinals RHP Adam Wainwright in Game 1 of their NL Division Series opener tonight.

Ratings mark: Wednesday's Giants-Pirates game drew the highest TV rating for a wild-card game since the games debuted in 2012. It averaged nearly 5.6 million viewers, up 19 percent from the 4.7 million for last year's AL game on the same day, the Rays' 4-0 win over the Indians. This was the first ESPN wild-card game. TBS aired the first five.

A's: GM Billy Beane not only didn't apologize for the Yoenis Cespedes-Jon Lester trade that ultimately blew up in a one-game wild-card loss to the Royals, he also insisted the A's wouldn't have made the playoffs if he hadn't made the deal. Defiant in the wake of heavy criticism of his midseason moves that many believe undermined clubhouse chemistry - and in the end, didn't work - he said he'd do it over again: "Simply put, if we don't have Jon Lester, I don't think we make the playoffs."

Brewers: RF Ryan Braun had a cryotherapy procedure on his right thumb. A needle was inserted at the thumb's base to essentially freeze a troublesome nerve that forced Braun to alter his mechanics.

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