3rd Time A Charm?

For the third time in five years, the Nationals enter the National League Divisional Series with high hopes. After falling to the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants, Washington looks for their first trip to the NLCS, taking on the NL West Champion Los Angeles Dodgers.

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Graphic Courtesy @mlbpipeline.com

Los Angeles took five of six meetings with Washington this season and are 9-3 vs. the Nationals over the past two years. While LA had a major league high 28 players on the disabled list this season, they are now relatively healthy. The Nationals will be without pitcher Stephen Strasburg, who last pitched exactly one month ago and catcher Wilson Ramos, who tore the ACL in his right knee in the season’s final week. The good news? Outfielder Bryce Harper has had two weeks to nurse his injured thumb back to health and all signs are go for playoff monster and Nats second baseman Daniel Murphy.

The teams are remarkably similar, with one exception… team speed. The Nationals stole 121 bases this season, while the station to station Dodgers managed but 45. What better source for a post season ranking than FanGraphs?

The Nats are going with a trio of left handed relievers, due in large part to the Dodgers futility against southpaws. The Dodgers ranked dead last with a .213 average. Nats lefty Gio Gonzalez fashions a sparkling 1.69 ERA over five career starts against Los Angeles.

MLBNetwork

Graphic Courtesy @MLBNetwork

Game One is shaping up as a classic with Nationals ace Max Scherzer facing Los Angeles’ stellar left hander Clayton Kershaw. Game two has Rich Hill scheduled for Los Angeles, while Washington counters with Tanner Roark. Following Sunday’s travel day to the West Coast, it’ll be Kenta Maeda for the Dodgers, Gonzalez for the Nats. Game four is TBA, but could be Scott Kazmir for LA vs. the Nats Joe Ross. Much depends on hs elimination. Note: Strasburg (flexor mass strain) could potentially return for the NLCS or World Series, should the Nats advance.

25 MAN ROSTERS

Cover Photo Courtesy @Dodgers

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