#961 Los Angeles Dodgersvs.#962 Washington Nationals
Written by Chris Kubala
MLB: Thursday, October 13, 2016, Nationals Park, Washington, D.C, 8 pm ET
Lines: Washington -149, Los Angeles +139; Over/Under: 7
It’s a winner take all Game 5 in the National League Division Series in the nation’s capital. The Los Angeles Dodgers and the Washington Nationals clash Thursday night. The winner advances to the National League Championship Series and a date with the Cubs. The loser goes home to an offseason full of questions. Washington blew a chance to put the series away Tuesday, falling 6-5, setting up this pivotal contest for all the proverbial marbles.
Los Angeles, with their season in the balance, sent ace Clayton Kershaw out on three days rest in Game 4. He pitched well, though the stat line doesn’t show it, mainly due to the ineptitude of the Los Angeles bullpen. The Dodgers had seven hits in the game with no player having more than one. Adrian Gonzalez hit a homer, his first of the playoffs, and drove in two runs. Chase Utley broke a 5-all tie in the eighth with a game winning RBI single. Kershaw threw 6.2 innings, allowing five runs on seven hits with two walks and 11 strikeouts. Two relievers gave up three runs charged to Kershaw in the span of three pitches. Joe Blanton got the win with 1.1 scoreless innings of relief. Kenley Jansen pitched the ninth for his second save of the series.
The Dodgers turn to Rich Hill in Game 5. He made 20 regular season starts, 14 with Oakland and six with Los Angeles. This is his second postseason start. Hill is 12-5 with a 2.12 ERA and a 0.997 WHIP plus 129 strikeouts in 110.1 innings. He is winless in his last four starts. Hill took the loss in his last start, which came against the Nationals in this park Sunday. He allowed four runs on six hits with two walks and seven strikeouts plus two hit batters over 4.1 innings. The Dodgers lost the game, 5-2. Hill makes his sixth career appearance and fifth start against the Nationals. He is 1-2 with a 5.09 ERA and a 1.522 WHIP over 23 innings. This is his third career start at Nationals Park. Hill is 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP over 10 innings.
Washington rallied from a 5-2 deficit to tie the game in the seventh inning but gave up the go-ahead run in the eighth. That put them back into a winner take all Game 5 here at home. The Nationals had eight hits but seven came off the bats of three players. Trea Turner (three runs) had three hits in the loss. Jayson Werth (RBI) and Daniel Murphy (four RBI) each had two hits in the game. Joe Ross recorded a no-decision thanks to the timely hitting by his team. He threw 2.2 innings, allowing four runs on three hits with two walks and three strikeouts. Blake Treinen (1-1) took the loss. He allowed one run on two hits with a pair of strikeouts and a hit batter in one inning of work. The Nationals hit four batters in the game.
Max Scherzer takes the hill for his second start of the postseason for the Nationals after 34 regular season starts. He is 20-7 with a 2.96 ERA and a 0.968 WHIP over 228.1 innings of work. In an interesting set of splits, Scherzer led the NL in strikeouts (284) and in homers allowed with 31. He took the loss in his last start, which came Friday in Game 1. Scherzer threw six innings, allowing four runs on six hits with no walks and five strikeouts. The Nationals lost the game, 4-3. He makes his 12th career appearance and 10th start against the Dodgers. Scherzer is 2-5 with a 3.59 ERA and a 1.137 WHIP over 60.2 innings. He is on the mound for the 33rd time at Nationals Park. Scherzer is 13-11 with a 3.08 ERA and a 0.945 WHIP over 218 innings.
Manager Dave Roberts did what he had to do, using Kershaw in Game 4 instead of rookie Julio Urias in order to give the Dodgers a shot at Game 5. The problem is, now he has to deal with Hill on short rest. He lost Game 2 with more than normal rest as the Nationals jumped on him. One can’t imagine there being a long leash here when a loss ends your season. Scherzer is pitching on five days rest and is at home. You don’t win 20 games by accident in the majors these days. Give the edge to the Nats as their ace outduels a jack in the decisive game of the set.
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Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. He keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college, the NHL, the NBA and college basketball and MLB.