With the season on the line, going with Clayton Kershaw in Game 4 of the NLDS this afternoon in LA was not a difficult decision for Los Angeles Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts.
As he explained before today’s game, the left-hander didn’t need any convincing either, in spite of the fact that he was going to be pitching on short rest.
“I think it was from the beginning, once the series started, that Clayton voiced that he wanted to pitch Game 4,” Roberts explained.
“Our mind-set was just prepare to pitch Game 4, so your work prior to Game 4, do that, and if we have to push it back a couple days, then we'll do that. So I think that for him, once we made that decision, he was prepared.”
Kershaw gave up two runs early, then settled in, retiring 11 of 12 Nationals he faced between the third and sixth before he ran into trouble in the seventh.
The Dodgers’ ace left the game with the bases loaded after singles by Danny Espinosa and Trea Turner and a two-out walk to Bryce Harper loaded the bases.
Pedro Baez came on and hit Jayson Werth to force in a run, 5-3, before Luis Avilan gave up a game-tying, two-run single to left-center by Daniel Murphy that tied it up at 5-5.
Blake Treinen retired the first two batters he faced in the eighth, but a HBP and single followed setting Chase Utley up with an RBI opportunity he cashed in, taking a slider up in the zone to right for an RBI single. 6-5 Dodgers.
Kenley Jansen came on and locked it down. Game 5 in D.C. on Thursday.
NLDS now tied at 2-2
Here’s how it happened:
Trea Turner singled on the first pitch of the game, moved up on a walk by Bryce Harper and scored one out later on a single to right by Daniel Murphy as the Nationals jumped out to an early 1-0 lead over the Dodgers.
Joe Ross retired the first two batters he faced, but lost a sinker inside to Justin Turner, hitting the Dodgers’ infielder in the shoulder, and a 1-1 sinker to Adrian Gonzalez up in the zone that ended up in the right field seats for a two-run home run that put LA up, 2-1 after one.
Turner singled again to start the third, went first-to-third when Jayson Werth punched a single to right one out later, and scored on a sac fly to center by Daniel Murphy, who got enough on an 0-2 four-seamer from Kershaw to tie it up at 2-2.
Clayton Kershaw lined a 1-2 slider to left for a leadoff single in the Dodgers’ half of the third, and scored two outs later on an RBI single to left-center by Justin Turner, 3-2.
Back-to-back walks loaded the bases, and a HBP on Joc Pederson on the 33rd pitch of the inning forced in a run and ended Ross’s outing with the Dodgers up, 4-2.
Joe Ross’s Line: 2.2 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 Ks, 1 HR, 55 P, 30 S, 3/1 GO/FO.
Oliver Perez got the Nationals through the fourth before Reynaldo Lopez took over on the mound against the Dodgers. Lopez retired the first two batters he faced, but gave up a two-out single by Josh Reddick and a two-out RBI double by Joc Pederson, 5-2.
Kershaw held the Nationals off the board after the third, but ran into trouble in the seventh with Danny Espinosa and Trea Turner hitting leadoff and two-out singles off the left-hander, respectively, but the Dodgers’ starter stayed in after a visit from his manager and walked Bryce Harper to load’em up on his 110th and final pitch.
Pedro Baez came on to face Jayson Werth with the bases loaded and two outs and hit him with the first pitch he threw. 5-3. Daniel Murphy stepped in next against LA lefty Luis Avilan and drove a 1-0 fastball to left-center for a two-run single that tied things up at 5-5 after seven.
Clayton Kershaw’s line: 6.2 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 11 Ks, 110 P, 76 S, 1/5 GO/FO.
Marc Rzepczynski and Blake Treinen combined for a scoreless bottom of the seventh.
Joe Blanton finished off the seventh and came back out with a scoreless eighth.
Treinen retired the first two batters he faced in the Dodgers’ eighth, then hit Andrew Toles and gave up a single to left by Andre Ethier. Chase Utley stepped in with two on and two out and send a 1-2 slider through the right side for an RBI single that put the Dodgers back up, 6-5.
Kenley Jansen came on for the save and retired the Nationals in order to end it. 6-5 Dodgers.
NLDS now tied at 2-2
- Jayson Werth’s home run in Game 3 of the NLDS was his 15th career blast, tying him with Babe Ruth for 11th on the all-time last of HRs in the postseason.
- In today’s “Fun with Arbitrary End Points” segment: Washington and Los Angeles have played 18 regular season games over the last three seasons, with the Dodgers taking 11 from the Nationals.
- In 17 career postseason games, Daniel Murphy is 23 for 68 (.338 AVG) with two doubles, seven home runs, nine walks and 15 runs scored.
- Joe Ross held right-handed hitters to a .203/.244/.305 line so far in his career, though left-handed hitters have a .302/.372/.446 line against the 23-year-old righty.
- Clayton Kershaw held opposing hitters to a .184/.204/.268 line in 21 starts this season, posting a 1.68 ERA in 149 IP.
- The Dodgers are 11-15 in postseason elimination games, and have won just three of their last nine when facing elimination.
- Corey Seager is the first rookie in Dodgers’ franchise history to homer in back-to-back games.
- LA’s 53-28 record in Dodger Stadium this season was the second-base home mark in the NL, behind only the Chicago Cubs (57-24).
- Dodgers’ infielder Justin Turner had a seven-game postseason hitting streak snapped yesterday.
- Dodgers’ relievers set an MLB record with 590 2⁄3 IP and 607 total appearances in 2016.
NLDS now tied at 2-2