By: Jason Green
The Dodgers take on the Nationals for the right to go to the NLCS and this season the Dodgers took 5 of 6 Games against the Nationals including winning 2 of 3 in the Nation’s Capital. The Dodgers are led by their pitching with Ace Clayton Kershaw, but can he turn his post-season woes around in this series?
This searies is pretty evenly matched and both went 11-9 in their last 20 Games and 18-12 in their last 30 Games. However, while the Dodgers already had the NL West wrapped up they did lose 5 of their last 6 Games of the season including the last three.
The L.A. staff ranked 5th in the Majors in team ERA this season led by Kershaw, who missed a couple of months with a back injury. He will take the hill in Game 1 and in his career he only has a post-season ERA of 4.59. He will oppose Max SCherzer, who led the NL in wins this season. L.A.’s Rich Hill will take the mound in Game 2 and rookie Kenta Maeda will likely get the Game 3 start. With Stephen Strasburg battling an elbow injury he is unlikely to go in this series and Tanner Roark and Gio Gonzalez will likely be the next 2 starters in this NLDS.
The edge in the starting pitching has to be with the Dodgers, but not by much and it is key for them that they get the W in Game 1 behind Kershaw. The bullpens are pretty even, as this season the L.A. bullpen ranked 1st in the Majors in ERA while Washington ranked 2nd.
The Dodgers do not have a lot of pop in their lineup and they ranked 14th this season in runs scored. Adrian Gonzalez and Justin Turner led the team in RBI (90) and clutch hitting is their forte since they only ranked 22nd in the Majors in team batting average.
Washington has the advantage when it comes to the lineups, as they ranked 8th this season in runs scored. Danile Murphy had a big season leading the team in batting average, HR, and RBI and the Nats have 5 players with at least 20 HR. Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth both have pop, but neither hit over .245 on the season.
The Dodgers are at +350 to win the NL Pennant and the Nationals are at +280 to win the pennant.
FRI. OCT. 7 L.A. at Washington
SAT. OCT. 8 L.A. at Washington
MON. OCT. 10 Washington at L.A.
TUE. OCT. 11 * Washington at L.A.
THUR. OCT. 13 * L.A. at Washington
Series Prediction: The one thing about the Dodgers’ pitching is their staff ERA was much better at home. However, Kershaw, unlike the past couple of seasons, will get the Game 1 win and that will give L.A. the home field. They will take advantage of that and they will take this series in 4 Games and advance in the playoffs.