NLDS Game 1: Not a Bad Opening Act, Dodgers Win Big

As Vin would say, not a bad opening act. The playoffs are finally here and the Dodgers opened their 5-game playoff series against the Nationals on Thursday evening at Dodger Stadium. The boys in blue tabbed Walker Buehler to take the mound while Washington gave the ball to left hander Patrick Corbin. The Dodgers have seen Corbin many times, yet still struggled early to score runs. Fortunately Buehler was terrific and the Nationals made too many mistakes as the Dodgers scored late to take game 1 by a 6-0 score.

And that’s a good thing because the majority of the teams that win game 1 go onto win the series. According to the numbers over 80% of playoff teams that win the first game advance to the next round. So the first game is super important in this short series. Odds are that when the Dodgers win the first game of the NLDS, they win the series. They’ve won the first game of the NLDS over the last three postseason runs and of course advanced each time.

Buehler gave the Dodgers six outstanding innings. He walked three struck out eight and allowed just one hit. His only problem came in the second inning when he walked the bases loaded, but was able to escape trouble. Corbin had problems with this command early as well. He couldn’t get his slider over for strikes, and the Dodgers made him pay. Corbin issued four walks in the bottom of the first, with the one to Max Muncy forcing in the first run of the game. However he would settle down and limit the Dodgers to just two runs across his six innings of work, while walking five and whiffing nine.

Nationals 0 2 2

Dodgers   6 7 0

WP-Buehler-1-0

LP-Corbin-0-1

HR-Lux-1-Pederson-1

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Former Dodger Howie Kendrick had a horrible game. He made two errors and another play was questionable. The National’s defensive problems allowed the Dodgers to plate a run in the bottom of the fifth. With two outs, Bellinger walked, and Taylor singled him to third. Muncy’s routine grounder to first base went right through Kendrick’s legs allowing Bellinger to score. Taylor was however thrown out at the plate. Not sure why he was waived home as he was out by ten feet.

The Dodgers up by two runs plated four more, two in the seventh and two additional runs in the eighth. After Corbin was out of the game, the Nationals bullpen led by some guy named Rainey, old buddy Fernando Rodney and ex-Giant Hunter Strickland coughed up the runs to put the game away and settle our nerves.

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In the bottom of the seventh, Joc Pederson walked, Justin Turner’s bloop single advanced him to third and after Bellinger struck out, Taylor walked to load the bases. Muncy singled into right to score two and the Dodgers went up 4-0. They added two more thanks to two solo home runs. Gavin Lux poked one over the wall in right field against Strickland. Then Joc “Doink” Pederson hit one that doinked off the foul pole in right field to put the Dodgers ahead 6-0.

The pitching was fantastic. Adam Kolarek struck out Juan Soto to lead off the top of the seventh, and Kenta Maeda followed with 1.2 scoreless innings while striking out two. Joe Kelly finished the Nats off in the top of the ninth to secure the win. The Dodgers hurlers limited the Nats to just two base hits and struck out 13. The Nationals were 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position. The Dodgers were 1 for 8 while leaving 8 runners on base.

This game was even more important with Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg looming later in the series. Until then the Dodgers look to put themselves another win closer to the NLCS on Friday night. Clayton Kershaw gets the call as the Nationals give the ball to Stephen Strasburg. First pitch is scheduled for 6:37 PM PST. 10 more wins Dodger fam. All the feels.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Former Co-editor of Lasorda's Lair. Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic Cheap MLB Tickets

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26 thoughts on “NLDS Game 1: Not a Bad Opening Act, Dodgers Win Big

  1. A big win in Game 1 of NLDS. Sort of a slow start. Dodgers had Corbin on the ropes and the Listless Lefty Lineup could only manage one run, on 4 walks. Once they got Corbin out of the game, DR was able to purge out the Leftie Lineup.and score some real runs. Dodger Offense still has to cut down on K’s (12), and RISP (1-8).

    Buehler pitched a great game, and won by the hair on his chinny-chin-chin, as he barely got enough run support. Lots of heroes tonight, but one MVP…. Max Muncy! Maeda, a great 1 2/3 innings of relief. Kelly showed some promise after his mysterious injury…. could he be the Dodgers’ secret weapon? Peddie and Lux seal the deal, avoiding having to use Jansen in the 9th.

    So, for game 2, which Kershaw will show up? Strasberg looks tough, but the hot bat of Pederson should be in the lineup.

    Go Blue! Take Game 2!

  2. Scott – guess you were having a couple of beers during the game lol.

    We scored our second run in the bottom of the 5th, not 3rd, and we face Strasberg tomorrow, not Sanchez.

    Either way, great win although Corbin was there for the taking.

    Also, just wanted to thank you for your efforts here, wish you all the best, and look forward to reading you from time to time.

    Go Blue

  3. Great start to the postseason. Let’s hope they keep getting good at bats and put the pressure on.

    A couple of observations:

    I hope Roberts don’t overuse Maeda. He was out of gas at the end two years ago.
    Joc is seeing the ball really well. But Bellinger and Seager seem to be pressing.

  4. NLDS Game 2: A Bad Second Act, Dodgers lose a tough one.

    Well….Kershaw in his customary Mr. October form. You cannot spot a pitcher like Strasberg a quick three runs. From then on, it was the Strasberg and Scherzer Show.

    Dodger offense a pitiful 0-4 RISP, with 17 strikeouts.

    Ugly loss for the Dodgers. Other than Muncy and Pederson, the big bats were silenced.

    Down to a three game series, with Nats having HFA.

      1. If there was any entertainment value in last night’s game, it was how the Nats’ pitchers made the Dodgers look silly at the plate. Dodgers flailing their bats around like a blind swordsmen. Seager seems to do well following Belli. Belli also gets better pitches too. Cory is way too far down in the lineup. Why DR keeps changing the batting order is baffling. IMO it is an extreme case of micro-managing and overthinking. DR just has to stick with what works.

        I think Kershaw has been exposed, and teams will exploit his weaknesses, especially in the early innings. Many of the Dodger starters have had similar problems in the early innings. Could it be having a rookie catcher? Are they having to take extra time getting on the same page? Opposing hitters seem to be taking an agressive approach at the plate in the early frames, as Dodger pitchers struggle to find there comfort zone. I do not know why DR dissed Ryu for game 2, in favor of Kershaw. He is so set on having Kershaw available for Game 5 to start or relieve. I don’t know if that was a good idea. I would not trust Kershaw over Ryu or Buehler.

        Ryu has the weight on his shoulders now. I consider Game 3 a “must win”.

        Let’s hope the Dodgers can rebound. A tough order to fill.

        1. Come on. EVERYBODY changes the order, let’s not go silly.

          Kershaw was more than fine. 3 runs is not an undue burden. He’s earned everything.

          There is no problem on this team, bullpen included, greater than hitters not hitting. It’s not the batting order (of course), it’s not the manager. It’s the hitters.

      2. 29 combined strikeouts in these 2 games but the offense and Buehler won Game 1. Not putting the ball in play like last night just may lead to an early PS exit. I would like nothing else but to be proven wrong here, but WSS.

  5. Kershaw again puts us behind the 8 ball to start the game. When good pitchers get a lead, they become even better, we saw it with Buehler in Game 1 and we saw it with Straussberg in Game 2. I really did not like that Ryu was not used at home where he has been an absolute mowing machine all season, what’s wrong with putting your two best pitchers on the mound in the first two games of a series? Besides, the idea of using Kershaw again in Game 5 as a reliever never turned me on to begin with. In October less Kershaw has been more.

    Bellinger and Seager are really hurting us. I’ve never been a big Pollock fan, he is too much of a Grandmal-type streaky hitter, those guys either kill ya or kill them, right now he is “kill ya”. Kike usually comes up big time in the post season, it’s time he be inserted into the line-up. Joc is an incredible post season player, they have to get him in there much, much more, if Bellinger can be allowed to kill us against lefties, surely Joc should be given a chance to face lefties based on his post season resume.

    Sorry folks but this post season has the smell of exit in 5 (like myself, Paul, Package, Bluefan and a few others have been saying thru out the season). The only merciful thing to have happened thus far is GasKanley has remained seated (along with his 20 million reasons, of course.

    1. Less Kershaw, and less Kenley that sounds like a “Good Thing”. So much reliance put on these guys. They are like trying to light a campfire with a book of wet matches.

      Pollock “IS” somewhat like Grandmal, now that you mention it. Pederson needs more playing time… he “IS” playoff worthy.

      Bluto sees “no problem on this team”. Well, I would hate to say, “I told you so, Bluto” (Actually kind of looking forward to it. It would be sweet consolation). Series definitely not over, but if they get to NLCS or WS, it will be a miracle.

      1. Don’t even sweat Brutus, he has shown in his posts that he doesn’t have any sense of what actually happens in sports, you might say he is a Sports-Challenged individual, not to mention socially-challenged individual.

        We’ve been all over this all season long, Bluefan, this team was not built to take it the distance. I fear that this management team has the same mentality of some of the posters in here, Good is Good enough, it is a great achievement just to make it to big games, whereas you and I think a great achievement is defined with a championship, anything else is just a loser position.

        1. I hear you.

          Management has no reason to improve. It is a business. 4million+ fans are streaming into Dodger Stadium and spending their money. Seats are full, parking lot is full, drinks are flowing, concessions are raking in the green…. what do they need to improve? Their cup runneth over. Like you say… apparently, “Just Good” is good enough for these fans. They do not care about winning a World Series Championship. Like, why buy your kid an X-Box, when he is content with a game of Tidily Winks for Christmas?

          I’m just sayin’….

          Not for you or I.

          1. Blue
            As long as Stan Kasten serves in a management capacity, the Dodgers will always be satisfied with playoffs are good enough. You couple him with Beavis and Butthead and amounts to less than good news. Yesterdays 5 hits pretty much says it all.

      2. Couldn’t agree with ya more BlueFan! I have Monday Oct. 7, if Dodgers do similar to what happened last night, that day in our calendar will be the end of this season for Dodgers. I certainly hope otherwise. Are we kidding? 29 combined K’s by this ‘offnse’ in these 2 games!

        1. 17 STRIKEOUTS! What a joke! I still cannot believe it, but We saw it with our own eyes!

          That is like throwing in the towel after 3 innings. 2/3rd’s of your at bats forfeited to the opposition.

          Once Kershaw gave up that early lead, the game was over. Strasberg just went on auto pilot. A quality pitcher cannot be spotted 3 runs. A quality pitcher will capitalize on it, and run with it.

          …. and DR wants Kershaw available in game 5? Sorry, but I have to laugh.

          BTW, just watching the ALCS games. Quality pitching, and quality hitting….. something the Dodgers really have not faced this season.

          1. I have said it before that in the regular season and especially in the NL West, the pitching they faced is no where near the level they are facing now. And Game 2 only magnified that

    2. Good day True! Awesome post here from ya, and exactly right on about everything. Another way to look at it is the way Tim Rogers did on another blog:
      “The Dodgers striking out 17 times is an embarrassment. Clayton Kershaw giving up 3 runs in 6 innings is mediocre. Let’s call it what it is, a team loss.”

    3. AJ Pollock will go down in Dodger History as one of those bonehead acquisitions…. with the likes of Reddick, Dozier, Forsythe, Darvish, Jason Schmidt, Milton Bradley, just to name a few. Can anyone name any others? I am sure there are many.

  6. One more thing, saw this today.

    Postseason numbers for pitchers who have won more than one Cy Young Award, ranked in order of ERA.

    Sandy Koufax, 4-3, 0.95 ERA

    Bob Gibson, 7-2, 1.89 ERA

    Roy Halladay, 3-2, 2.37 ERA

    Tim Lincecum, 5-2, 2.40 ERA

    Jim Palmer, 8-3, 2.61 ERA

    Tom Seaver, 3-3, 2.77 ERA

    Denny McLain, 1-2, 3.24 ERA

    Steve Carlton, 6-6, 3.26 ERA

    Greg Maddux, 11-14, 3.27 ERA

    Tom Glavine, 14-16, 3.30 ERA

    Pedro Martinez, 6-4, 3.46 ERA

    Randy Johnson, 7-9, 3.50 ERA

    Roger Clemens, 12-8, 3.75 ERA

    Max Scherzer, 4-5, 3.78 ERA

    Corey Kluber, 4-3, 3.97 ERA

    Johan Santana, 1-3, 3.97 ERA

    Clayton Kershaw, 9-11, 4.33 ERA

    Bret Saberhagen, 2-4, 4.67 ERA

    Gaylord Perry, 1-1, 6.14 ERA

    As you know, the greatest pitchers rise to the occasion. Koufax was a god, just look at that sick ERA

    1. Now, that is a worthy post. Look at those names at the top…. those were the good old days, when pitchers were pitchers…. NO pitch limits, NO excuses, No extra days rest, just go out and do their job.

      Thanks True.

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