Los Angeles Dodgers’ skipper Dave Roberts talked to reporters on Tuesday about the team that’s trying to knock his 106-win club out in the first round of postseason play, saying that he sees similarities in the way his lineup and the Washington Nationals’ lineup approach the game.
“You know, yeah, it’s similar to our ballclub as far as you have a lot of players that are very talented and that have conceded playing time for the sum and the ballclub,” Roberts said.
“It’s a resilient club and very talented. They have earned this opportunity as well as we have for a Game 5. The second half of the season they played as good as anybody.”
The Nationals, of course, went 19-31 in the first 50 games before going 74-38 in the next 112, and tonight they have a shot at making it past the NLDS for the first time in franchise history (2005-present). And they have Stephen Strasburg starting.
In 13 innings on the mound in two regular season starts against LA, the Nationals’ 31-year-old right-hander gave up three runs (2.08 ERA) with two walks, 16 Ks, and a .140/.208/.209 line against, and he held the Dodgers to a run on three hits in six innings in Game 2 of the NLDS.
How Strasburg adjusts and how the Dodgers adjust to him, Roberts said, is part of the fun of going up against one another multiple times in a short period.
“Well, yeah, it’s one of those things that it is a chess match,” the Dodgers’ skipper explained.
“And I think that — and I don’t know the exact numbers, but I think he was even more [than] 50 percent, over 50 percent secondaries against us that first time. And is he going to continue to do that? Are we going to make an adjustment? I just do believe that the changeup and then the curveball usage, he was very sharp with both those pitches. When he’s making pitches like that with that on top of the fastball, he’s going to be tough on anybody, so I think for us to kind of hunt a location and be ready to capitalize on mistakes is very important.”
What will Dodgers’ starter Walker Buehler do, and what adjustments, if any, will he make after tossing six scoreless against the Nationals in LA’s 6-0 win in Game 1?
And how much of an edge will the home field advantage be for LA, after they finished the regular season 50-31 in Chavez Ravine and split the two games of the NLDS last week?
“I know it’s going to be sold out,” Roberts said. “I expect the crowd, the blue towels waving, rally towels from the first pitch. And we certainly feed off that emotion and that energy, we play great at home. Obviously we can’t wait to -- there’s familiarity with the ballpark, our routine.
“Obviously Walker loves being at home. Our guys hit well at home. So, yeah, I expect it to be electric tomorrow night.”
Will the Nationals live to play another day? Will they upset the NL West division winners? Will the stress be too much for us all?