Washington’s win in Game 3 of the NLDS was their first win in four games in Dodger Stadium this season and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 29th loss in 82 games in LA this season.
It ended up an 8-3 game, but it was closer than it appeared in the end, with the Nationals relying on two big innings to decide the third game of the series.
With the Nationals just one win away from the franchise’s first trip to the NLCS (2005-present), Nats’ skipper Dusty Baker was asked if he wanted to get right back at it.
“No, we can wait,” Bakers said, “because we need some rest. But you know, it was -- I mean, that was big, because we exploded, I think, in the third, and then we didn't explode again until the ninth. And it was like, boy, we were wondering, like, man, we've got to score some more here, because this game is close and they have so much firepower over there, especially a one-run game. And the fans are excited here, and behind them, and the Dodgers are tough to beat here.”
Jayson Werth, who’s been in D.C. for each of the Nationals’ three postseason runs since 2012, told reporters after the Game 3 win that the time is now.
“We've been fortunate here to be in the hunt coming down the stretch, almost every season that I've been in Washington,” Werth said. “Going to the playoffs; it's the third time I've been in the playoffs [with the Nationals]. I'm hoping this is our year. We're battle-tested, we're playoff-tested and we've got a good group of guys. We've been playing together a long time now. So I feel like this is our opportunity.”
Werth, who is 37 years old and in the next-to-last year of the 7-year/$126M he signed with Washington in late 2010, is having fun, but taking the opportunity seriously, after a disappointing follow-up to their last postseason appearance in 2014.
“I think after last year, with the injuries, and the way it ended and, you know, I felt like it was just like an opportunity lost,” he explained.
“With getting Dusty this year and the moves at the deadline, again, I just feel like this is -- you don't always get opportunities. I feel like it got taken away last year, and obviously I can't play this game forever. So I feel like this is -- I feel like this is our chance and I also feel like maybe this is my last chance to do it. For whatever reason, just been having fun.”
The Nationals try to wrap things up this afternoon in Game 4 of the NLDS.
Here’s the Nationals’ lineup for this afternoon’s game in LA: