Following a 4-3 win in the National League wild card game, the Nationals turn their focus to Los Angeles for Game 1 of the NL Division Series on Thursday night at Dodger Stadium. Manager Davey Martinez confirmed that left-hander Patrick Corbin will start Game 1. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has not announced his Game 1 starter.
Right-hander Stephen Strasburg tossed three scoreless innings in Tuesday’s comeback win over the Brewers, taxed for only 34 pitches. So that opens the door for Strasburg to be available for five innings in a Game 2 start. Martinez still has starter Aníbal Sánchez available to start or piggyback Strasburg.
Plus, Max Scherzer only threw 77 pitches in Tuesday’s start, so he would be well rested to start Game 3 on Sunday at Nats Park.
Sean Doolittle will also be well rested for Game 1. He has not pitched since Saturday against the Indians.
“This was a big win for the guys in the clubhouse, for this organization,” Martinez said. “We get to move on and go to L.A. But it’s a testament to those guys in that clubhouse. They played hard all year long. We started off horrible, as we all know, and we vowed that we wouldn’t quit. I told the boys, ‘I promise you, stay with it, don’t quit, this will turn around,’ and it did. And here we are today.”
Corbin has been very good against the Dodgers recently. In his last five starts, the southpaw has gone 2-0 with a 0.59 ERA in 30 1/3 innings, striking out 39.
Shortstop Trea Turner, who homered for the first time in the postseason Tuesday night, was reminded the last time his Nats took on the Dodgers in the 2016 NLDS, won by Los Angeles in five games.
“Yeah, a few years ago, I guess, different team,” Turner said. “A few years ago, I was here and we played them. They’re obviously a good team, great starting pitching, good lineup and deep and whatnot. So it’s going to be tough. But I think if there’s a team that’s ever been ready to face some adversity, it’s this one right here. And I guess Corbin is pitching for us.”
The Dodgers won 106 games and ran away with the NL West, staying in first place for 188 days. They won the season series against the Nationals, four games to three.
The Nats played them tough in Los Angeles from May 9-13, coming off a sweep at the hands of the Brewers. Gerardo Parra introduced himself to Nats fans with a dramatic grand slam for a 5-2 win and Corbin’s seven shutout innings helped to take the series opener 6-0.
From July 26-28, the Dodgers won two of three at Nats Park. The lone Nats’ win was 11-4 in the series finale. Strasburg allowed one run over seven innings and Brian Dozier and Juan Soto each hit a home run.
“One of the best, if not the best, teams in baseball,” said first baseman Ryan Zimmerman, whose broken-bat single to center field kept the go-ahead rally going in the eighth inning Tuesday. “Obviously a tall task. We’re going to enjoy tonight, but know we have to fly out west and play a really, really good baseball team. But we have a really good baseball team, too. It’ll be a good series and just happy to move on.”