Washington Nationals: Three Takeaways From NLDS Game 5

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Oct 13, 2016; Washington, DC, USA;Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) is taken out of the game during the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during game five of the 2016 NLDS playoff baseball game at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 13, 2016; Washington, DC, USA;Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) is taken out of the game during the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during game five of the 2016 NLDS playoff baseball game at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /
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Washington Nationals
Oct 13, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw (22) reacts after the final out during the ninth inning against the Washington Nationals during game five of the 2016 NLDS playoff baseball game at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /

Roberts Outsmarts Baker With Bullpen Moves

Since Kershaw was used as the starter in Game 4, Dave Roberts was going to have to get everything out of his bullpen last night to win the game. Rich Hill didn’t make it out of the third inning despite striking out six hitters. But, Roberts went to Joe Blanton with two on and two out in the third and he got Anthony Rendon to fly out to center.

In the top of the fifth, the Dodgers turned to Julio Urias for the first time in the series and the 20-year-old rookie showed no nerves. He gave up one hit, struck out two, and picked off Bryce Harper at first base (although his pickoff move looked like a balk).

When Grant Dayton gave up the two-run home run to Heisey in the seventh, Roberts decided now was the time to go to his closer in a high leverage situation. Kenley Jansen ended up getting seven outs. While he walked four batters, he gave up one hit and struck out four on 51 pitches (career high) before Kershaw closed it out.

As for the Washington Nationals bullpen, it was a strength for the first four games of this series. Last night, Dusty Baker used six pitchers in the seventh innings, but those pitchers combined to give up four runs. Sammy Solis gave up a RBI single to Carlos Ruiz and Shawn Kelley gave up a two-run double to Turner.

Of course, the big concern after the game was Kelley having to leave the game in the seventh because of an injury. After the game, Kelley told the media he was okay, but that injury looked serious and Kelley has had two Tommy John surgeries in his career:

Next: Good Season Ends In Heartbreak

During this series, the chess match between Roberts and Baker was always fun to watch. Last night, Roberts was able to slightly outmanage Baker and his gambles ended up paying off in a big way.

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