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
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.
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.
— ??⚾️?Meri ✌?❤️?? (@mericombs12) October 4, 2019