Dodgers extend lead against Braves in Game 1 of NLDS

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The Braves got on the board against Clayton Kershaw in the bottom of the fourth inning, but the Dodgers got a run right back in the top of the sixth inning.

Jordan Walden took over for Luis Ayala to begin the sixth inning and retired Carl Crawford on a ground out, but he then gave up a single to Mark Ellis and an RBI double to Hanley Ramirez. Walden was able to get Adrian Gonzalez on ground out and strike out Yasiel Puig swinging to avoid any further damage, but the Dodgers lead this one 6-1 going into the bottom of the sixth.

And while Clayton Kershaw labored through the bottom of the fourth inning, he struck out the side in the fifth. Time is running out for the Braves.

Jon Gray will start Opening Day for the Rockies

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Manager Bud Black has tabbed Jon Gray to start on Opening Day for the Rockies. That will be Monday, April 3 in Milwaukee against the Brewers in an afternoon contest.

Gray, 25, is starting Opening Day for the first time in his career. He’ll be the sixth different Rockies pitcher to start Opening Day in as many years.

The Rockies and Gray had a bit of a scare on Friday as he left his spring training start with discomfort in his left foot, but everything came up clean in an MRI. He pitched again on Wednesday with no issue.

Last season, Gray went 10-10 with a 4.61 ERA and a 185/59 K/BB ratio in 168 innings. A consensus top prospect entering each of the previous three seasons, Gray surprisingly put up better numbers at Coors Field — the most hitter-friendly park in baseball — than away.

Blake Treinen named Nationals closer

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Today Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker named Blake Treinen as his closer. Treinen has saved exactly one big league game.

There wasn’t necessarily an obvious choice, however. Last year Washington had Mark Melancon, but with him gone and GM Mike Rizzo’s failure to land a high-profile closer in the offseason, it became a contest between Treinen Shawn Kelley and Koda Glover.

Treinen posted a 2.28 ERA with 31 walks and 63 Ks in 67 innings in 2016. His big improvement last year came against lefties, who had tattooed him in the past. He pitched well this spring as well, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything.

The Nats are our favorites to win the NL East, but we do have some questions about the pen. Blake Treinen will take the first crack at answering them.