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.