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.

Brian Cashman signs 4-year contract to remain Yankees GM

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SAN DIEGO — Brian Cashman has signed a four-year contract to remain the New York Yankees Senior Vice President and General Manager. The announcement was made during the first day of baseball’s Winter Meetings.

Cashman, New York’s GM since 1998, had been working on a handshake agreement since early November, when his five-year contract expired.

The Yankees were swept by four games in the AL Championship Series and haven’t reached the World Series since winning in 2009. It is the franchise’s longest title drought since an 18-year gap between 1978-96.

Cashman’s main goal during the offseason is trying to re-sign AL MVP Aaron Judge.

Judge hit an American League-record 62 homers this season with a .311 batting average and 131 RBIs. He turned down the Yankees’ offer on the eve of opening day of a seven-year contract that would have paid $213.5 million from 2023-29.

While Judge remains on the market, Cashman was able to re-sign Anthony Rizzo on Nov. 15 to a two-year contract worth $40 million after turning down a $16 million player option.

Cashman has been the Yankees general manager since 1998. He has been with the organization since 1986, when he was a 19-year old intern in the scouting department. In his 25 seasons as GM, the Yankees have reached the postseason 21 times, including four World Series championships and six American League titles.