Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC Sport.com's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.
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Playoff Reset: Nationals vs. Dodgers NLDS Game 3

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The Game: Washington Nationals @ Los Angeles Dodgers, NLDS Game 3
The Time: 4:00 PM EDT
The Place: Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles
The Channel: MLB Network
The StartersGio Gonzalez (Nationals) vs. Kenta Maeda (Dodgers)

The Upshot:

The series is tied at one, but, going into this one it feels like the Dodgers are in a hole. Why? Because the Nats are throwing a lefty in Gio Gonzalez (11-11, 4.57 ERA) and the Dodgers have been baseball’s worst-hitting team when facing lefties this year. So far in the series they have had 14 at bats against Washington lefties —Sammy Solis, Marc Rzepcynski and Oliver Perez — and they’re 1-for-14. If Los Angeles wants to take a 2-1 lead in this series, they need to break form in a hurry. Gonzalez is 3-1 with a 1.69 ERA in five career starts against the Dodgers, including a win back in July in which he allowed one run over six innings. He hasn’t been hurt by anyone in this lineup over his career.

The Dodgers will also have to figure out how to contain Daniel Murphy, who is in a different uniform this year but who is beating the tar out of Dodgers pitchers just like he did in the 2015 NLDS for the Mets. He’s 4-for-6 so far against L.A in this NLDS and is 11-for-27 with three home runs and five RBI in seven postseason games against the Dodgers overall.

The Dodgers counter with Kenta Maeda (16-11, 3.48 ERA) who, while not as spectacular when he is on as Clayton Kershaw or Rich Hill are, was the Dodgers most steady and reliable starter all year, leading the club in wins, innings and strikeouts. Given the way Kershaw labored in Game 1 and the loss yesterday, Dave Roberts will settle for some steady right now. Maeda did not face the Nationals in his rookie year.

The starters will be well-rested, as they flew to Los Angeles ahead of the clubs. Everyone else may be dragging a good deal given the coast-to-coast flight last night and 1PM (local) start time. They’re ballplayers, though, and they’ve done it before. For the true stories of exhaustion, follow the media who had to make a 5am commercial flight from D.C. this morning to cover the game in Los Angeles today. Our thoughts and prayers are with them in this difficult time.

Here Are The Updated Division Series Start Times

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The rain played havoc with the Division Series schedule over the weekend and so it would be understandable if you have no idea when games in the three remaining series are to be played. Thankfully, MLB has people working on that.

Today is simple. It breaks down like this:

  • Nationals @ Dodgers Game 3: 4:08PM EDT;
  • Indians @ Red Sox Game 3: 6:08PM EDT;
  • Cubs @ Giants Game 3: 9:38PM EDT

Tomorrow, however, things get kind of complicated, as the schedules changes depending on how many games are actually required. If there are three games necessary tomorrow (i.e. the Red Sox and the Giants both win today), it breaks down like this:

  • Indians @ Red Sox Game 4: 2:08PM EDT
  • Nationals @ Dodgers Game 4: 5:05PM EDT;
  • Cubs @ Giants Game 4 8:40PM EDT

If there are only two NLDS games required (i.e. the Giants win and the Red Sox lose), the Indians-Sox obviously falls off the schedule and the other two games proceed at the above-stated times. If, however, there are two games required and one is an ALDS game (i.e. the Red Sox win and the Giants lose) the times change a bit:

  • Indians @ Red Sox Game 4: 3:08PM EDT
  • Nationals @ Dodgers Game 4: 8:08PM EDT

After that, it’s all “IF NECESSARY” stuff. Wednesday would be just one game as the NL teams would be traveling far:

  • Red Sox @ Indians Game 5: 6:08PM EDT

Thursday:

  • Dodgers @ Nationals Game 5: 5:05PM EDT
  • Giants @ Cubs Game 5: 8:40PM EDT

Please study this post well. There will be a test later and it will count in your final grade.

The Blue Jays ride the longball to a 2-0 lead over Texas

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Texas made it interesting late, but the Toronto Blue Jays’ early home run barrage put the Rangers into a hole too deep to climb out of. The Jays won Game 2 of the ALDS 5-3 and now head home to Toronto with a 2-0 lead in their best-of-five series.

Yu Darvish was supposed to restore order after the Jays pounded Cole Hamels but the Jays had different ideas. Troy Tulowitzki hit a two-run homer in the 2nd. In the fifth the Jays hit three solo homers off of Darvish, one each from Kevin PillarEzequiel Carrera and then Edwin Encarnacion. Meanwhile, the Rangers kept gathering hits off of Toronto starter J.A. Happ but stranded runners like it was their job. They only mustered one run off of Happ via an Ian Desmond RBI single in the fourth.

The sixth, seventh and top of the eighth inning went by quietly before the Rangers mounted a mini rally in the eighth. John Gibbons called on Francisco Liriano and Liriano struggled, giving up a leadoff double to Mitch Moreland, recording an out and then walking Robinson Chirinos. That brought up Carlos Gomez who lined a ball off of Liriano’s head, scoring Moreland and knocking Liriano out of the game, bringing in closer Roberto Osuna.

Osuna induced a groundout to make it 5-3, but then struck out Carlos Beltran to end the rally. He came back in for the ninth and, a double to Adrian Beltre notwithstanding — which should’ve been caught by Melvin Upton Jr. who was a nominal defensive replacement — completed the five-out save.

So now the Jays are in the driver’s seat. They get a flight back home this evening and a day off tomorrow before taking on the Rangers in Rogers Centre, up 2-0, for Game 3.