NLDS Game 5 lineups: Nats at Dodgers

LOS ANGELES - And so it has come to this. Nationals. Dodgers. Game 5 of the National League Division Series. They wouldn’t have had it any other way.

The winner goes to the NL Championship Series, against either the Braves or Cardinals, whose Game 5 should be wrapping up right around the time this one starts. Reminder: The Nats would not get home field advantage against either opponent, so Games 1-2 would be on the road, with Games 3-5 in D.C., then potential Games 6-7 back on the road.

Strasburg-Throws-Front-Gray-Sidebar.jpgFirst things first. There’s the little matter of tonight’s winner-take-all game between two outstanding ballclubs, each sending a dominant right-hander to the mound. Stephen Strasburg has a brilliant postseason record, but so does Walker Buehler, who was virtually unhittable in Game 1. The Nationals will need to find a way to make Buehler keep the ball in the zone and potentially drive up his pitch count ... so they can instead get to Clayton Kershaw out of the bullpen. Hey, nobody said this would be easy.

The big lineup questions: Victor Robles is out again, with Michael A. Taylor again in center field. Ryan Zimmerman is at first base. Howie Kendrick is at second base. It’s a good offensive lineup. Will it be good enough?

On the mound, the Nats’ plan is the same as it was in Game 4: Ride Strasburg as far as they can, then go to Sean Doolittle and Daniel Hudson. If someone else is needed, perhaps it’s Patrick Corbin or Aníbal Sánchez. Maybe Max Scherzer. Probably not Max Scherzer.

Whatever the case, it’s going to be another dramatic night at the ballpark. Will it end with the Nationals reaching heights they’ve never reached?

NATIONAL LEAGUE DIVISION SERIES - GAME 5
WASHINGTON NATIONALS at LOS ANGELES DODGERS
Where: Dodger Stadium
Gametime: 8:37 p.m. EDT
TV: TBS, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, MLB.com
Weather: Clear, 70 degrees, wind 6 mph out to center field

NATIONALS
SS Trea Turner
RF Adam Eaton
3B Anthony Rendon
LF Juan Soto
2B Howie Kendrick
1B Ryan Zimmerman
C Kurt Suzuki
CF Michael A. Taylor
RHP Stephen Strasburg

DODGERS
RF Joc Pederson
2B Max Muncy
3B Justin Turner
CF Cody Bellinger
1B Matt Beaty
SS Corey Seager
LF Kiké Hernández
C Will Smith
RHP Walker Buehler

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