Washington Nationals Fall Short To Dodgers In NLDS Opener
By Ron Juckett
The Washington Nationals knocked Clayton Kershaw out early, but could not crack the Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen.
In an entertaining affair, the Washington Nationals dropped the opening game of the National League Divisional Series Friday night 4-3 to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Home runs by Corey Seager in the first and Justin Turner in the third off Max Scherzer were a bridge too far to cross. After chasing Clayton Kershaw in the fifth, who was uncomfortable all night, the Nationals managed one hit off the Dodgers bullpen in four innings.
That hit, off of closer Kenley Jansen by Clint Robinson, fueled hopes of a comeback. But, pinch-hitter Chris Heisey struck out to end the eighth inning and the top of the Nationals lineup went quietly in the ninth.
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There were some good signs by the Nats tonight.
Ryan Zimmerman continues to hit the ball hard, including two singles that were stung. Anthony Rendon‘s two-run single in the third cut what was a four-run lead in half in the bottom of the third.
In the seventh, after Daniel Murphy walked, Rendon appeared to miss a hit-and-run sign and Murphy was caught stealing. That was likely their last best chance of the night.
Washington did have Kershaw’s number.
In his five-inning win, the Nats tattooed Kershaw for eight hits and three earned runs. In return, he walked one and fanned eight. If this series goes the distance, it will be interesting to see of he continues to disagree with his catcher Yasmani Grandal. For a couple innings, they were not on the same page and met after every pitch.
Scherzer, who led the league in home runs allowed, surrendered Seager’s on the first pitch and hung the one Turner belted. When relaxed, he struck out five in six innings, scattering four hits.
The Washington Nationals had their chances, but with runners in scoring position, they went 1-for-10. A sure fire way to lose.
In Saturday’s Game 2, Tanner Roark hopes to level the series against Rich Hill of the Dodgers.
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First pitch will be at 4:08 and the game can be seen on Fox Sports 1.