MLB Playoffs on Sling: Nats Look to Finish Off Dodgers, Cubs Hoping to Get Past Giants

Oct 11, 2016 by Sling Staff

Washington Nationals (TBD) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (TBD), Nationals leads series 2-1
5pm ET on FS1

The Washington Nationals took a 2-1 series lead Monday night by jumping on Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda early, and then dropping the hammer on closer Kenley Jansen for an 8-3 win. L.A. started the scoring with an RBI single from Corey Seager in the bottom of the 1st, but the Nats erupted for 4 runs in the 3rd, with Anthony Rendon delivering a 2-run homer for a 4-1 lead. With his team down 4-3 in the 9th, manager Dave Roberts called on Jansen to keep it close, but alas… Jayson Werth led off with a solo homer, then a walk and an HBP set the stage for Ryan Zimmerman’s 2-run double, at which point Jansen was done. Ross Stripling would come on to face Chris Heisey, who drive in the final run of the night with a sac fly.

Both Nats manager Dusty Baker and Dodgers skipper Dave Roberts are being coy about who will start today’s game. Obviously this is a much more important decision for Roberts, who can’t afford to get it wrong. Roberts’ choices are Ross Stripling, Jose Urias or Clayton Kershaw on short rest. Kershaw on short rest is a terrible idea given that he’s never done it, and it usually doesn’t go well. And even if it works, will he then go with Rich Hill on short rest, tempting fate twice? Here’s hoping he goes with Urias and keeps the kid on a short leash. He’s been very good this year, and given the circumstances represents their best option. For the Nationals, you can take the above and swap out Clayton Kershaw and Jose Urias for Max Scherzer and Joe Ross. Yes, Ross is coming off a shoulder injury, but pitched well in a few tune-up starts down the stretch, with a 2.79 ERA in 9 ⅔.

Chicago Cubs (Lackey 11-8, 3.35) vs. San Francisco Giants (Moore 13-12, 4.08), Cubs lead series 2-1
8:30pm ET on FS1

The Giants won a wild one Monday night, besting the Cubs 6-5 on a Joe Panik walk-off double in the 13th inning. It was a game that promised to be a pitching duel for the ages, but fell short as Jake Arrieta gave up 2 runs over 6 innings, while Madison Bumgarner lasted just 5, surrendering 3 runs, all of them on an Arrieta home run in the 2nd. The Giants would chip away at the deficit, scoring a run in the 3rd, another in the 5th, and 3 more in the 8th to go up 5-3. But presumptive NL MVP Kris Bryant knotted the score with a 2-run bomb in the 9th. Cubs reliever Mike Montgomery would come on in the 9th, pitching 4 shutout innings before giving up back-to-back doubles to Brandon Crawford and Panik in the 13th to take the loss.

John Jackey will try to finish off the Giants tonight, taking the ball with a career postseason record of 8-5 with a 3.11 ERA in 127 ⅓ innings going back to his 2002 rookie season with the Angels, when he won Game 7 against Barry Bonds’ Giants. At 37, Lackey remains a solid starter, and finished the regular season with a strong kick, going 7-2 with a 2.34 ERA over his last 9 starts. In his lone start against S.F. this year he held them to 2 runs on a hit and a walk in 5 innings, in a game the Cubs won 3-2.

On the hill for the Giants is the mercurial Matt Moore, who earlier this year came within an out of no-hitting the Dodgers, and a month later against the same team got chased in the 2nd having given up 6 runs on 7 hits. Moore strikes out more than a batter an inning, and served up just .7 HR/9 with the Giants this year, but he has trouble finding the dish, walking 4.2 per 9 since joining the team in a deadline trade. Moore’s postseason track record is as whipsaw as his regular season – in 2011, he gave up 1 run in 10 innings against the Rangers, and then in 2013 he gave up 8 runs in 6 ⅓ against the Red Sox. The spectrum of possibilities with this guy pitching are limitless.

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All stats courtesy ESPN and Baseball Reference.

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