MLB Playoffs on Sling: Nationals Looks to Even Series Following 4-3 Loss to Dodgers on Friday

Oct 08, 2016 by Scott Ross

Los Angeles Dodgers (Hill 12-5, 2.12) vs. Washington Nationals (Roark 16-10, 2.83), L.A. leads series 1-0
1pm ET Sunday on FS1

The rains came to D.C. on Saturday, washing out Game 2 of the National League Division Series between the Dodgers and Nationals, which the Dodgers lead 1-0. The extra day off could prove to be a huge boon to the Dodgers' bullpen, given that manager Dave Roberts used four relievers to secure Friday’s win 4-3, including closer Kenley Jansen, who was called on to get five outs.

Stud rookie Corey Seager jacked a solo homer in the first inning of Friday’s game, staking Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers to a lead they would never surrender. It was just Kershaw’s third win in 10 career playoff starts, and except for the first inning, when he struck out the side, he was in and out of trouble most all night, lasting just 5 innings, and scattering 8 hits and a walk over 5 innings, and giving up 3 runs. It wasn’t vintage Kershaw, but for one night it was enough, as Nationals starter Max Scherzer had troubles of his own. In addition to Seager’s home run, Scherzer also served up a 2-run bomb to Justin Turner in the 4th that made the the score 4-0, putting the game out of reach.

Only one thing since has stood between Rich Hill and world domination this year: blisters. Earlier this season, Hill proved that his renaissance last fall was no fluke, as he started the season going 9-3 with a 2.25 ERA, before getting sidelined with blisters. The Dodgers had been so ravaged by injuries that they traded for him while he was on the DL, and since joining the team he’s been even better, going posting a 1.83 ERA over 34 ⅓ innings. The Dodgers remain hypersensitive to the possibility of a recurrence of said blisters, however, going as far as pulling Hill on a September night when he’d pitched 7 perfect innings against the Marlins, and he hasn’t thrown more than 93 pitches in any of his starts with L.A. Hill, too, will likely be happy for the extra day’s rest given his blister issue and the fact that in 5 starts with 6+ days of rest this year he had a 1.20 ERA. Hill has just one postseason start on his resume, back in 2007, while with the Cubs, he gave up 3 runs in just 3 innings against the DIamondbacks.

The Nationals tonight will turn to Tanner Roark to keep them out of an 0-2 hole before heading to Los Angeles. Roark enjoyed a bounceback year, following an injury riddled and ineffective 2015, staying healthy enough to pitch 210 innings this season and finish among the league leaders in wins, ERA, HR/9, and HBP (hey, whatever works…). Roark’s never before started a postseason game, though he made a pair of relief appearances in 2014, giving up 1 run in 2 ⅔ innings against the Giants in the NLDS. Roark took the loss in his lone start against the Dodgers this year, but pitched well, giving up 3 runs on 6 hits a walk over 7 ⅓.

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All stats courtesy ESPN and Baseball Reference.

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