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Nationals-Dodgers: Washington offense having trouble getting going

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Nationals-Dodgers: Washington offense having trouble getting going

The Nationals looked like they got the break they needed on a defensive miscue by the Dodgers. Then the Nationals got robbed of the second break they needed on an unreal defensive play by the Dodgers. After Juan Soto reached second on a fielding error …

Dodgers-Nationals NLDS Game 5: Live updates, score, analysis – The Washington Post| chevron-rightchevron-rightchevron-rightchevron-rightchevron-rightchevron-rightchevron-rightchevron-rightchevron-rightchevron-rightchevron-rightchevron-rightchevron-rightchevron-rightchevron-rightchevron-rightchevron-rightchevron-rightchevron-rightchevron-rightSearch InputsearchSearchSectionsmenuSign inprofileWashington Post LogoDemocracy Dies in DarknessNationals-Dodgers: Howie Kendrick hits grand slam in 10th inning closeSports reporterOctober 10, 2019 at 12:25 AM EDT

Follow our live updates throughout Game 5 of the NLDS between the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers.

Tenth inning (in progress — Nationals 7, Dodgers 3):

Howie Kendrick delivered the greatest hit in Nationals history in the 10th inning. His teammates set it up — Adam Eaton walk, Anthony Rendon double, Juan Soto intentional walk — and he brought them all the to plate. Kendrick faced Joe Kelly, in his second inning of relief for the Dodgers, and blasted a 97-mph fastball which caught just a little too much of the plate over the wall in center. Kendrick single-handedly pushed this team as close as its ever been to where it’s never gone before: the National League Championship Series. But the Nationals still need to secure three more outs.

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HOWIE. KENDRICK.

— MLB (@MLB)

Ninth inning (Dodgers 3, Nationals 3):

Dave Roberts turned over the ninth to Joe Kelly, the Dodgers’ erratic reliever with a 4.56 ERA who nearly let the Nationals back into Game 3. If this decision was reverse thinking from his Clayton Kershaw approach, it paid off. Kelly struck out the first two hitters and got Trea Turner to fly out to right.

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Dave Martinez went to Daniel Hudson for the most important inning of the Nationals season. The right-hander acquired at the trade deadline for moments just like this delivered. He had traffic (Enrique Hernandez singled with one out), and he had scares (Will Smith’s flyball to the warning track in right). But he held the line (Chris Taylor lined out center).

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Here’s what each team has left on the bench:

Nationals: Gerardo Parra (left-handed hitter, outfielder), Brian Dozier (right-handed, second baseman), Victor Robles (right-handed, outfielder)

Dodgers: Gavin Lux (left-handed, second baseman), A.J. Pollock (right-handed, outfielder), Russell Martin (right-handed, catcher)

And the bullpens …

Nationals:

Left-handers: Sean Doolittle

Right-handers: Fernando Rodney, Hunter Strickland, Wander Suero, Austin Voth, Aníbal Sánchez, Max Scherzer (unlikely)

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Dodgers:

Left-handers: Julio Urías, Rich Hill, Adam Kolarek, Hyun-jin Ryu

Right-handers: Kenley Jansen, Dustin May, Ross Stripling, Pedro Báez

Eighth inning (Dodgers 3, Nationals 3):

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The Nationals aren’t done yet. Anthony Rendon homered off Clayton Kershaw to lead off the eighth inning. Juan Soto took the next pitch back-to-back and the 2019 Nationals continued doing the least likely things at the least likely moments.

Juan Soto is 20 years old.Juan Soto is left-handed.Juan Soto just homered off Clayton Kershaw……down by 1 in the 8th inning of a do-or-die Game 5 on the road at Dodger Stadium. //

— Washington Nationals (@Nationals)

If he looks like an MVP…If he sounds like an MVP…If he hits clutch HRs like an MVP… …then he's probably an MVP. //

— Washington Nationals (@Nationals)

DANCING WITH THE NATS

— Rudy Gersten (@DCBarno)

Brutal

— Dan Steinberg (@dcsportsbog)

The dagger for Dodgers fans: Dave Roberts left Kenta Maeda and the right-hander’s ridiculous splits against right-handed hitters in the bullpen. Roberts finally went to Maeda after Kershaw’s second homer. Maeda carved up the Nationals for three strikeouts, all on sliders.

Patrick Corbin hit Justin Turner to put a runner on but limited the threat there. He struck out Cody Bellinger and pinch-hitter David Freese to escape the eighth with the tie intact, something he couldn’t do in Game 3. The question now is how long Corbin can go (if Manager Dave Martinez wants him to pitch the ninth). He threw 35 pitches in Game 3 on Sunday. It’s unclear if he has many more than the 22 he’s already thrown. The Nationals would like to go to one of their top relievers, Sean Doolittle or Daniel Hudson, with a lead in the ninth, but that is up to the team’s bats.

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Seventh inning (Dodgers 3, Nationals 1):

The Nationals had what was their best chance yet. It was painful — a ball hit Kurt Suzuki, ricocheted off his face and forced him to leave the game — but Trea Turner later worked a walk and finally forced Walker Buehler from the game. The young, right-handed starter departed with two on and two out in the top of the seventh having thrown 117 pitches. The Dodgers replaced him with future Hall-of-Famer Clayton Kershaw, who struck out Adam Eaton on three pitches.

Dave Martinez gambled in the seventh. The first pitcher he went to out of the bullpen was right-hander Tanner Rainey, not one of the three relievers who’d pitch in an ideal scenario (Patrick Corbin, Sean Doolittle or Daniel Hudson). The bet paid off; Rainey retired the only two batters he faced, both right-handers, and then Martinez went to the left-handed Corbin for the top of the Dodgers lineup. Corbin struck out Joc Pederson. The Nationals have six outs to go.

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Sixth inning (Dodgers 3, Nationals 1):

The Nationals lineup finally broke through in its third chance against Walker Buehler. Anthony Rendon led off with a double and Juan Soto drove him in with a single. They snapped Buehler’s scoreless postseason innings streak at 21 2/3, and the Nationals dugout was amped. Unfortunately for them, Howie Kendrick grounded into a killer double play and, when Ryan Zimmerman struck out, the second straight inning with a real chance was left unrealized to its full potential.

Anthony Rendon does an Anthony Rendon thing. Juan Soto brings him home.BOTTOM 6 // Dodgers 3, Nats 1

— Washington Nationals (@Nationals)

Stephen Strasburg allowed a leadoff double, but he didn’t allow it to hurt him any further. He struck out Matt Beaty (on a change-up), Corey Seager (on a curveball) and Enrique Hernandez (on a change-up) to end his empty-the-tank inning. The Nationals bullpen is on deck.

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Fifth inning (Dodgers 3, Nationals 0):

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Dave Martinez had a difficult choice in the fifth. He had his starter, Stephen Strasburg, finally looking like himself but due up third. Kurt Suzuki led off with a walk and Michael A. Taylor singled, setting up the manager’s most difficult choice of the night. Martinez let Strasburg hit for himself and he fouled off a bunt with strike three. The Nationals failed to drive in Suzuki and Taylor and, when you look back, that might be Strasburg’s most significant strikeout of the season.

Stephen Strasburg sailed through the fifth inning, retiring the Dodgers in order. He’s almost mirrored Max Scherzer’s wild-card game with five innings and the way the Dodgers scored those three runs (two-run homer to the No. 2 hitter, leadoff homer in the second). The difference in that game was the Nationals offense coming alive late. The question is whether they can replicate that magic tonight.

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Fourth inning (Dodgers 3, Nationals 0):

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The Nationals looked like they got the break they needed on a defensive miscue by the Dodgers. Then the Nationals got robbed of the second break they needed on an unreal defensive play by the Dodgers. After Juan Soto reached second on a fielding error by Corey Seager, Howie Kendrick hit a line drive to center which looked destined for extra bases. Instead, Gold Glove-caliber center fielder Cody Bellinger made a leaping catch and tamped down a possible Nationals rally. It was the story of the Nationals offense so far.

Spoiler alert: He caught it.

— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers)

Stephen Strasburg finally started to capture his curveball command, but the question is whether it’s too late. The right-hander struck out Will Smith and Walker Buehler with the pitch, but he jogged back to the dugout with his team trailing 3-0. The onus is now not on him as much as it is on the bats.

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Third inning (Dodgers 3, Nationals 0):

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The Nationals squandered Walker Buehler’s walk of Stephen Strasburg and they failed to advance a runner past first for the second straight inning. One of the biggest talking points after Game 1 was the Nationals expanding the strike zone and chasing pitches. That doesn’t appear to be the case this time, as they’ve mostly stayed in the zone except Adam Eaton’s groundout in the first or Trea Turner’s fielder’s choice in the third.

Even when Stephen Strasburg escapes an inning unscathed, it’s hard. Howie Kendrick made his third error of the series when he booted an easy groundball from Cody Bellinger to let the NL MVP candidate to reach first. That didn’t ultimately hurt, Strasburg stranded him at third, but it did extend the starter’s frame and made him throw additional pitches.

One of the takeaways from Walker Buehler's start in Game 1 was the Nationals chasing pitches out of the zone. They're doing a better job so far in Game 5 but have struggled again somewhat (Turner, Eaton, Taylor, Suzuki groundouts in green).

— Sam Fortier (@Sam4TR)

The Dodgers, on the other hand, have hardly chased anything from Stephen Strasburg. The only real “chase” here, the low green dot, was a single by Joc Pederson.

— Sam Fortier (@Sam4TR)

Second inning (Dodgers 3, Nationals 0):

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The Nationals couldn’t do much against Walker Buehler in the second, managing a Ryan Zimmerman single and not much else. Kurt Suzuki grounded out to third and pushed the offensive contributions from the Nationals catching position this postseason to 0 for 16 with six strikeouts and three walks.

Stephen Strasburg cannot locate his curveball, so the Dodgers are waiting it out and sitting heat. That’s how Enrique Hernandez hit the game’s second home run. He watched a change-up flyball in the dirt and then crushed a dead shot to center field on a 94-mph fastball which sat in the middle of the zone. The only encouraging stat for the Nationals was that Max Scherzer did the exact same thing in the wild-card game (two-run homer to the No. 2 hitter, solo homer to lead off the second). The Nationals’ offense, though, needs to flip the script earlier than they did against the Milwaukee Brewers to have any sort of chance.

¡VAMOS, KIKÉ!

— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers)

First inning (Dodgers 2, Nationals 0):

The Nationals couldn’t get anything going in the first inning of a win-or-home Game 5. Trea Turner struck out, Adam Eaton grounded out, Anthony Rendon flied out to the warning track. It wasn’t productive, but it wasn’t expanding the zone and helping Walker Buehler as they did in Game 1.

Game 5 started as weird as anyone who’s ever watched the Nationals play in one might expect. Joc Pederson hit an opposite field double which at first looked like a home run because it bounced into the bullpen, but on review it actually hit the mesh netting of the bullpen door and bounced through. The next hitter, Max Muncy, left no doubt. He crushed a two-run homer to right-center for Stephen Strasburg’s first postseason home run allowed of his career.

CLUTCH LEVEL ON MAX.

— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers)

Strasburg, for his part, looked off. He struggled to locate his off-speed stuff and, perhaps anticipating the Dodgers adjusting to his curveball (which he threw 40 percent of the time in Game 1), he relied on his fastball. It didn’t pan out as he allowed the double and the home run — and a walk and a single — in a rocky first inning. He did not look at his best.

Pregame:

The St. Louis Cardinals are waiting. The Red Birds exploded in a 10-run first inning, and they never looked back in a 13-1 victory over the NL East-champion Atlanta Braves which secured them a spot in the National League Championship Series. Now, the Cardinals wait to see the winner of the late game, the Washington Nationals and the Los Angeles Dodgers, in their own crucial Game 5. If the Dodgers win, the Cardinals fly to the west coast for Game 1 on Friday; if the Nationals win, they fly to St. Louis.

The Nationals hope they’re flying to St. Louis on Thursday morning because, if they beat the Dodgers, the Cardinals would give them another chance to exorcise playoffs demons. The Cardinals were one of the four teams to beat them in an NLDS before this (2012).

Game information

Washington Nationals at Los Angeles Dodgers (series tied 2-2)

When: Wednesday, 8:37 p.m.

Where: Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles

TV: TBS | Stream:

Starting pitchers: Stephen Strasburg (18-6, 3.32 ERA) vs. Walker Buehler (14-4, 3.26 ERA)

The Washington Nationals are back for another Game 5. They’ve gotten to this point in the National League Division Series before, in , and — and they lost every one of them. The Los Angeles Dodgers ended their season in 2016, but now the Nationals have a chance to pull off a role reversal and bounce the team that is thinking World Series title or bust.

Stephen Strasburg will start for the Nationals opposite Walker Buehler. The Nationals’ veteran right-hander is making the biggest start of his life one year removed from one of the worst seasons of his career. Strasburg rebounded from a difficult, injury-riddled 2018 to become the most dominant and durable he’s ever been this year. His dominant Game 2 performance — six innings, no walks, 10 strikeouts, one earned run — nosed down his postseason ERA to 0.64, the best mark in MLB history for anyone with four or more postseason starts.

Buehler will not be easy to out-duel. The 25-year-old right-hander has not allowed a run in his last 17⅔ postseason innings. . The Nationals will tell you they chased pitches out of the zone and , but they need actualize those adjustments in Game 5 to escape with their first-ever playoff series win.

Lineups

Nationals

Trea Turner SS

Adam Eaton RF

Anthony Rendon 3B

Juan Soto LF

Howie Kendrick 2B

Ryan Zimmerman 1B

Kurt Suzuki C

Michael A. Taylor CF

Stephen Strasburg P

Dodgers

Joc Pederson RF

Max Muncy 2B

Justin Turner 3B

Cody Bellinger CF

Matt Beaty 1B

Corey Seager SS

Enrique Hernández LF

Will Smith C

Walker Buehler P

Read more:

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