NLDS Preview: Dodgers vs Nationals

After coming from behind to win a thrilling Wild Card game against the Milwaukee Brewers 4-3, the Washington Nationals (93-69) are coming to Los Angeles to challenge the Dodgers (106-56) for a best of 5 where the winner will advance to the NLDS and take on the winner of Braves/Cardinals. Manager Davey Martinez’s ball club is riding a 9-game winning streak when you include this last game, while the two time defending National League champion Dodgers are on a 7-game winning streak as well. The Dodgers won the regular season matchup 4-3.

Pitching comparisons (NL Ranks):

Overall Team ERA:  Nationals – 4.27 (8th) vs Dodgers – 3.37 (1st)

Starting Pitching ERA: Nationals – 3.53 (2nd) vs Dodgers – 3.11 (1st)

Bullpen ERA: Nationals – 5.66 (15th) vs Dodgers – 3.78 (1st)

Home Team ERA: Nationals – 4.44 (12th) vs Dodgers 2.82 (1st)

Road Team ERA: Nationals – 4.09 (2nd) vs Dodgers 3.95 (1st)

Nationals pitching :

Max Scherzer (R) – (11-7) 2.92 ERA, 27 starts, 172 IP, 243 K, 18 HR
Stephen Strasburg (R) – (18-6) 3.32 ERA, 33 starts, 209 IP, 251 K
Patrick Corbin (L) – (14-7) 3.25 ERA, 33 starts, 202 IP, 238 K, 24 HR
Anibal Sanchez (R) – (11-8) 3.85 ERA, 30 starts, 166 IP, 134 K, 22 HR
Austin Voth (R) – (2-1) 3.30 ERA, 8 starts, 43.2 IP, 44 K
Sean Doolittle (L) – (6-5) 4.05 ERA, 29 saves, 6 BS, 60 IP, 66 K
Daniel Hudson (R) – (3-0) 1.44 ERA, 6 saves, 25 IP, 23 K
Tanner Rainey (R) – (2-3) 3.91 ERA, 48.1 IP, 74 K, 1.45 WHIP
Fernando Rodney (R) – (0-3) 4.05 ERA, 33.1 IP, 35 K
Wander Suero (R) (6-9) – 4.54 ERA, 78 games, 71 IP, 81 Ks
Hunter Strickland (R) – (2-0) 5.14 ERA, 21 IP, 15 K

Dodgers Pitching:

Hyun-Jin Ryu (L) – (14-5) 2.32 ERA, 29 starts, 182.2 IP, 163 K
Clayton Kershaw (L) – (16-5) 3.03 ERA, 28 starts, 178.1 IP, 189 K
Walker Buehler (R) – (14-4) 3.26 ERA 30 starts, 182.1 IP, 215 K
Rich Hill (L) – (4-1) 2.45 ERA, 13 starts, 58.2 IP, 72 K
Kenley Jansen (R) – (5-3) 3.71 ERA, 33 saves, 8 BS, 63 IP, 80 K
Joe Kelly (R) – (5-4) 4.56 ERA, 51.1 IP, 62 K
Pedro Baez (R) – (7-2) 3.10 ERA, 71 games, 69.2 IP, 69 K
Kenta Maeda (R) – (10-8) 4.04 ERA, 37 games, 153.2 IP, 169 K
Julio Urias (L) – (4-3) 2.49 ERA, 37 games, 79.2 IP, 85 K
Adam Kolarek (L) – (2-0) 0.77 ERA, 26 games, 11.2 IP, 9 K
Dustin May (R) – (2-3) 3.63 ERA, 14 games, 34.2 IP. 32 K
Ross Stripling (R) – (4-4)  3.47 ERA, 32 games, 90.2 IP, 93 K

Probable starters:

Game 1 Thursday 5:37 PM PST
Patrick Corbin (L) vs Walker Buehler (R)
Corbin has a lifetime record of 5-9 vs the Dodgers with a 3.36 ERA but over the last 2 seasons Corbin has only allowed 2 ER in his last 30 IP vs LA with 38 Ks including 7 shut out innings earlier in 2019. Buehler is 0-1 in his career vs the Nationals with a 3.38 ERA, which includes an outing where 4 ER scored off him in a loss earlier this season. At home Buehler has a career ERA of 2.60
Game 2 Friday 6:37 PM PST
Stephen Strasburg (R) vs Clayton Kershaw (L)
Strasburg is 3-5 against the Dodgers with an impressive 2.54 ERA. Strasburg made 2 starts against the Dodgers and finished 1-1 allowing 3 runs over 13 innings and striking out 16 Dodgers. In the 2016 NLDS, when Kershaw appeared in a game they won, that includes 2 starts plus one save opportunity. Kershaw is 12-3 in his career against the Nationals with a 2.23 ERA. He pitched 6 innings and allowed 2 runs in a win over them this season.
Game 3 Sunday 4:30 PM PST
Max Scherzer (R) vs  Hyun-Jin Ryu (L)
Scherzer has appeared 17 postseason games and has a 4-5 record with a 3.83 ERA. He’s 5-4 in his career against the Dodgers with a 2.76 ERA. Ryu has a 2-1 record with a 1.35 ERA and 33.1 recorded innings against the Nationals. This season he dominated them by showcasing a 0.61 ERA in 2 starts and taking a no-hitter into the 8th inning.
Game 4 (If Necessary) Monday TBD
Anibal Sanchez (R) vs Rich Hill (L)
Sanchez is 1-3 with a 3.53 ERA against the Dodgers. He suffered a defeat against them as a member of the Braves in last years NLDS. He started against them twice in 2019 with one strong outing by going 7 innings but the lost the other by not making it past the 5th. Rich Hill will be on a tight innings limit. Expect him to go 4 innings at the most. It’ll be interesting to see who follows Hill out of the pen.

Hitting comparisons (NL ranks ):

Runs: Nationals – 873 (2nd) vs Dodgers – 886 (1st)

Home Runs: Nationals – 231 (6th) vs Dodgers 279 (1st)

Team batting average: Nationals – .265 (2nd) vs Dodgers .257 (5th)

Avg. vs RHP: Nationals – .258 (4th) vs Dodgers .261 (3rd)

Avg. vs LHP: Nationals – .283 (1st) vs Dodgers .250 (10th)

Nationals hitters:

C. Yan Gomes (R) –  .223 12 hr 43 rbi
C. Kurt suzuki (R) – .264 17 hr 63 rbis
1B. Howie Kendrick (R)  .344 17 hrs 62 rbis
1B. Ryan Zimmerman (R) .257 6 hrs 27 rbis
1B. Matt Adams (L) .226 20 hrs 56 rbis
2B. Asdrubal Cabrera (S) – .260 18 hrs 91 rbis
2B. Brian Dozier (R) – .238 20 hr 50 rbis
SS. Trea Turner (R) – .298 19 hr 57 rbis 35 steals
3B. Anthony Rendon (R) – .319 .412 obs 34 hr 126 rbis
OF. Adam Eaton (L) .279 15 hr 49 rbis 15 steals
OF. Gerardo Parra (L) – .238 9 hr 48 rbis
OF. Victor Robles (R) – .255 17 hr 65rbis
OF Juan Soto (L) .282 .401 OBP 34 hr 110 rbis
OF. Michael A. Taylor (R) .250 1 hr 3 bis

Dodgers hitters:

C. Will Smith (R) .253 15 hr, 42 rbis
C. Russell Martin (R) .220 6 hr, 20 rbis, .220 Ryu 1.52 ERA
1B. Max Muncy (L) .251 avg .374 obp 35 hr 98 rbis
1B. David Freese (R) .315 11 hr 29 rbis 10 postseason HRS
2B. Gavin Lux (L) .240 avg 2 hr 9 rbis
UTI. Enrique Hernandez (R) .237 17 hrs 64 rbis
UTI. Chris Taylor (R) .262 12 hr 52 rbis
SS. Corey Seager  (L) .272 19 hrs 87 rbis
3B. Justin Turner (R) .290 27 hr 67 rbis .429 NLDS average
OF. Matt Beaty (L) .265 9 hr 46 rbis
OF. Joc Pederson (L) .249 36 hrs 74 rbis
OF. Cody Bellinger  (L).305 47 hrs 115 rbis
OF. AJ Pollock (R) .266 15 hr 47 rbis

Turner hit .400 against the Nationals in the 2016 NLDS and has a career average of .429 in this round, he’s been carrying the Dodgers over the years but how will his health impact his bat? Pollock is 7-14 against Strasburg with 1 hr and 3 rbis. Turner has also taken him deep twice. Very few Dodgers have done well against Scherzer but Muncy is 3-9 with a home run and we all saw Pederson take the 3-time Cy Young award winner deep in Game 5 of the NLDS.

The Nationals will be carrying 11 pitchers and 14 hitters, while the Dodgers are going with 12 pitchers and 13 hitters. These two teams met in the 2016 NLDS where the Dodgers came out on top in a thrilling fashion winning the series 3-2. The key to winning this series will be getting to the Nationals bullpen. It has not been good, and you know their manager will do all he can to have those starters pitch deep. Executing with runners on base is something the Dodgers must do.

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