When and where: October 9, 2019, Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, CA, 8:37 PM ET
A trip to the National League Championship Series is on the line in Wednesday’s Game 5 of the NLDS between the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers. With their backs against the ropes, the Nationals came out swinging in Sunday’s 6-1 shellacking of the Dodgers. However, they’ll face even longer odds in a closeout game slated to take place at Dodger Stadium. Do they have what it takes to upend the Dodgers in a massive upset? A pitching duel between Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg and Los Angeles’ Walker Buehler takes center stage in the series finale.
Can Strasburg pull off another upset?Who better to take another slingshot at the moon than Stephen Strasburg?
He hit his mark as a starting pitcher in Game 2 of the series, when he threw 10 strikeouts in six innings, while only allowing one earned run. A repeat performance would instantly be remembered as one of the greatest moments in Nationals’ franchise history. Imagine the Wild Card Nationals bursting onto the scene and knocking off the No. 1-ranked Dodgers—a team most expected to advance all the way to the World Series.
Pitching has been key in this series considering both wins have come in games where the Nationals have held the Dodgers to no more than two runs. It’ll be interesting to see if they can muster that sort of dominant performance in a high-profile closeout game.
“I mean, for me, I think it just comes down to execution,” Strasburg said on Monday, via ESPN.com. “I try and focus on the things I can control, and good pitching is supposed to get good hitting out most of the time. They always say a guy that gets a hit three out of 10 times is in the Hall of Fame, so I’m trying to get him out those seven other times.”
There’s no questioning Strasburg being up for the task. The three-time MLB All-Star is throwing a 3.32 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP with an 18-6 record on the season. He averaged a 2.08 ERA in two games played against the Dodgers this year.
Are the Dodgers in trouble?Welcome to playoff baseball.
This has been nothing like the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins series, where the Yankees rolled over the opposition with three consecutive wins and punched their ticket to the championship series. The Dodgers are in real trouble against the Nationals, who haven’t backed down since getting shut out 6-0 in the series opener.
A trip to the World Series isn’t promised for the Dodgers, and if they come up short on offense again on Wednesday, they’ll be watching another team representing the National League on the big stage. After crushing the Nationals with a 10-run effort on Sunday, they were held to only one run at the plate in Monday’s loss to the Dodgers. That isn’t going to cut it against a well-rounded opponent like the Nationals.
Buehler carries the pride of Los Angeles on his shoulders when he gets the green light to start on Wednesday. The 25-year-old right-handed pitcher is throwing a 3.26 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP with a 14-4 record on the season. His last postseason appearance ended in a six-inning shutout against the Nationals in the series opener.
- Nationals are 1-4 in their last 5 during game 5 of a series.
- Dodgers are 44-21 in their last 65 games against the National League East.
- Dodgers are 27-13 in their last 40 after allowing 5 runs or more in their previous game.
- Dodgers are 37-18 in their last 55 when their opponent scores 5 runs or more in their previous game.
- Dodgers are 39-19 in their last 58 overall games.
- Dodgers are 39-19 in their last 58 games on grass.
- Dodgers are 7-1 in Buehler's last 8 starts on grass.