And so it has come to this. Game 5. Winner-take-all. One team heads to Chicago this weekend for the National League Championship Series. One team heads home for the winter, wondering what might have been. We’ve experienced this once before during this era of D.C. baseball. The final outcome is one that continues to haunt everyone. Tonight’s result could go a long way toward pushing those bad memories aside.
This is, quite simply, Max Scherzer’s game. He’s rested. He’s ready. He was brought here precisely to pitch games of this magnitude. Two keys for the right-hander: Get through the first inning unscathed and with a low pitch count, and finish strong, as he so often has done.
Rich Hill, like Clayton Kershaw before him, is starting on short rest. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts won’t hesitate to go to his bullpen early. The Nationals fared pretty well against Hill in Game 2. The key to their success: Hang tight on his big, slow curveball.
Nats manager Dusty Baker is going with the same lineup he used in Game 2. That includes Jose Lobaton behind the plate. Baker can’t count on another three-run homer from his catcher, but he does like Lobaton’s ability to call a good game working with Scherzer. It’ll be up to the seven guys in front of him to produce the runs necessary to win the game.
It’s going to be chilly tonight. First pitch won’t be until well after the sun has gone down. The crowd is going to be electric. This is what it’s all about, folks. Enjoy it all.
NATIONAL LEAGUE DIVISION SERIES - GAME 5
LOS ANGELES DODGERS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 8:08 p.m. EDT
TV: FS1, MLB.tv (hour-long “Nats Xtra” pregame on MASN at 7 p.m. and after game)
Radio: 106.7 FM, 980 AM, XM 80/89, MLB.com
Weather: Partly cloudy, 64 degrees, wind 11 mph left field to right field
CF Trea Turner
RF Bryce Harper
LF Jayson Werth
2B Daniel Murphy
3B Anthony Rendon
1B Ryan Zimmerman
SS Danny Espinosa
C Jose Lobaton
RHP Max Scherzer
2B Chase Utley
SS Corey Seager
3B Justin Turner
1B Adrian Gonzalez
RF Josh Reddick
CF Joc Pederson
C Yasmani Grandal
LF Andrew Toles
LHP Rich Hill