A PROBLEM WITH RISP
There are certain things that kill good playoff teams.
For the Washington Nationals in Game 1, it was moving runners along in scoring position. You will win nothing if you go 1-for-10 as the Nats did.
Confidence and attitude play a huge role this time of year. During the regular season, most games are equal and teams ebb and flow as the summer progresses. Playoff baseball is a different animal. One game is a mini-season. Staying positive after a loss is crucial.
Hitting so poorly with runners on base will end the year. It gets in your head that the team cannot execute, and, the Dodgers in this case, the other teams pitching staff grows in confidence. They can attack harder knowing mistakes will not be exploited.
In Game 1, the Nationals worked pitch counts and fought hard to protect the strike zone, mostly. As a unit in Game 2, they have to use the same approach. Make Rich Hill beat you with his best stuff and tire him out. It worked against Kershaw, but not against the bullpen.
Although the final score tilted the wrong way, Washington’s patience early worked. They need to use it when runners are on.