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2016 National League Division Series 2

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2016 National League Division Series
Los Angeles Dodgers logo
2016 National League Division Series logo
Washington Nationals logo
Los Angeles Dodgers
91 - 71 in the NL
3 - 2
Series Summary
Washington Nationals
95 - 67 in the NL


The Division Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Washington Nationals was the first-ever postseason series to feature two African-American managers in Dusty Baker, a veteran of many postseasons, and Dave Roberts, in his first season as a big league skipper. The two teams had never met in the postseason under their current guise, but back in 1981, they had played a closely fought series when the Nationals were still the Montreal Expos.

The Nationals, having home field advantage, were considered favorites, especially given the serious question marks surrounding the Dodgers' starting pitching, but in the end their history of losing a Division Series they should have won continued, with the series turning on an epic 7th inning in Game 5 that featured eight pitchers and 6 runs scored over an endless 66 minutes.

The Teams[edit]




Series results[edit]

Game Score Date Starters Time (ET)
1 Los Angeles Dodgers 4 Washington Nationals 3 October 7 Clayton Kershaw (1-0) Max Scherzer (0-1) 5:38 pm
2 Los Angeles Dodgers 2 Washington Nationals 5 October 9 Rich Hill (0-1) Tanner Roark (0-0) 1:08 pm
3 Washington Nationals 8 Los Angeles Dodgers 3 October 10 Gio Gonzalez (0-0) Kenta Maeda (0-1) 4:08 pm
4 Washington Nationals 5 Los Angeles Dodgers 6 October 11 Joe Ross (0-0) Clayton Kershaw (1-0) 5:05 pm
5 Los Angeles Dodgers 4 Washington Nationals 3 October 13 Rich Hill (0-1) Max Scherzer (0-1) 8:08 pm


Game 1 @ Nationals Park[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Dodgers 1 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 8 1
Nationals 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 9 0
WP: Clayton Kershaw (1-0); LP: Max Scherzer (0-1); SV: Kenley Jansen (1)
Home Runs: LA - Corey Seager (1), Justin Turner (1)
  • Attendance: 43,915

On paper, Game 1, featuring a match-up of perennial Cy Young Award contenders in Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer, should have been a low-scoring affair, but that was only the case after the two aces had left the game. The scoring started early as the second batter of the game, rookie SS Corey Seager, homered off Scherzer to give Los Angeles a 1-0 lead. For all his dominance in most pitching categories, Scherzer did have one well-known flaw, and this was the gopher ball, so while it was not the beginning Nationals fans would have wanted, it was not completely out of character. Scherzer hit the next batter, Justin Turner, with a pitch, but then got Adrian Gonzalez to ground into a double play, so the damage was limited. For his part Kershaw started out brilliantly, getting the side to strike out swinging in the bottom of the 1st. In the 2nd, it was Scherzer who got a 1-2-3 inning, while Kershaw found the going tougher. David Murphy led off with a single, but he was forced out by Anthony Rendon. Ryan Zimmerman then singled to put a second runner on base, but Danny Espinosa struck out. C Pedro Severino then hit a ground ball to Chase Utley at second base, but the veteran commited an error while trying to get Zimmerman at second, and the bases were now loaded. Luckily for Kershaw, it was his opponent Scherzer's turn to bat, and he got him to pop out to end the inning without a score, although it had taken a lot of effort.

The Dodgers scored all the runs they needed in the 3rd when Andrew Toles led off with a single and was sacrificed to second by Kershaw; a single by Utley drove him in and after Seager grounded into a force out, Turner was the one to hit a long ball, sending one of Scherzer's pitches beyond the fence in left field for a 4-0 lead. Had Kershaw been pitching a typical game, it would have been game over at that point, but the Dodgers' ace was struggling with his command. He allowed a one-out double to Bryce Harper in the bottom of the inning, then walked Jayson Werth. After a second out, the two pulled off a double steal, a perfect set-up for Rendon to line a two-run single to left. Zimmerman followed with another single, but the two runners were stranded when Espinosa struck out again. In the 4th, Severino led off with a double, went to third on a ground out by Scherzer, and then scored on a sacrifice fly by Trea Turner. It was now 4-3.

Scherzer pitched perfect innings in the 4th and 5th, while Kershaw again had to fight against the tide to get through the 5th. Werth led off the frame with a single and after one out went to second on another single by Rendon. He moved to third when Zimmerman flied out to right. Espinosa was up again with a chance to do some damage, but he struck out for the third time of the game, allowing Kershaw to escape without giving up a run. However, it had taken him over 100 pitches to get through those five laborious innings, and he was done for the day. Scherzer stranded a runner on third base in the top of the 6th, and Joe Blanton took over on the mound for L.A. in the bottom of the inning. Nationals manager Dusty Baker called on Wilmer Difo to pinch-hit for Scherzer with one out, ending his ace's day on the mound. Turner drew a two-out walk, prompting Dodgers manager Dave Roberts to summon lefty specialist Grant Dayton from the bullpen to face Harper as part of a double switch. Dayton did his job, getting Harper to fly out to right.

In the 7th, Murphy drew a one-out walk against Dayton, prompting another double switch, with P Pedro Baez and 2B Charlie Culberson entering the game. Culberson was immediately tested as he had to apply a tag on Murphy, who was caught stealing at second. In the 8th, Roberts decided to bring in his closer early, putting Kenley Jansen into the game with one out and the bases empty. Baker replied with a pair of pinch-hitters; the first, Stephen Drew, batting for Espinosa, popped up, but the second, Clint Robinson, lined a double to left. More substitutions followed, with Michael Taylor running for Robinson and Chris Heisey batting for P Sammy Solis. However, Jansen was able to strike out Heisey to end the inning. In the top of the 9th, Nats closer Mark Melancon came in to pitch, but after striking out Culberson and Joc Pederson, he allowed back-to-back singles to Yasmani Grandal and Howie Kendrick, with both batters taking an extra base on the throw from CF Turner to third base. Baker decided to issue an intentional walk to Yasiel Puig, loading the bases and forcing Jansen to bat for himself, as Roberts was not about to take his closer out of the game with only a one-run lead. Still, Jansen was a converted position player, so he did not look completely overmatched on his first couple of swings before Melancon put him away.

The Nationals were down to their last chance against one of the toughest closers in the business. They could never get anything going. Turner struck out swinging and Harper lined out to second baseman Culberson. The final hope was Werth, but he struck out swinging as well, and lo and behold, Kershaw was credited with a win in spite of his struggles, the Nationals having once again dropped a Division Series game they should have won, a reminder of what had happened in 2012 and 2014.

Game 2 @ Nationals Park[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Dodgers 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 8 0
Nationals 0 0 0 3 1 0 1 0 x 5 9 0
WP: Blake Treinen (1-0); LP: Rich Hill (0-1); SV: Mark Melancon (1)
Home Runs: LA - Corey Seager (2); WAS - Jose Lobaton (1)
  • Attendance: 43,826

Game 2 was originally scheduled to be played on October 8th, but was pushed back one day because of a rainout. In what was basically a must-win game for Washington, they went with Tanner Roark as their starter, given the unavailability of Stephen Strasburg; for Los Angeles, Rich Hill a veteran pitcher who had emerged as a top starter late last year, had been acquired in a mid-season trade precisely to start such a game. He was an atypical pitcher, though, relying on an average fastball and a devastating curve as his only two pitches.

Roark began the game by getting Chase Utley to hit a weak fly ball on his first pitch, then his second pitch headed straight for Corey Seager's head. Seager ducked out of the way and the ball went crashing to the backstop, but with a count of two balls and no strikes, the Dodgers' rookie shortstop hit the ball behind the right-center field fence. It was the second straight game in which he had homered in the top of the 1st. For his part, Hill struck out the side in the bottom of the frame. In the 2nd, Roark loaded the bases on a single by Joc Pederson, a walk to Yasmani Grandal, and a ball that barely grazed Andrew Toles' uniform for a hit-by-pitch. Hill was next up but failed in an attempt to put down a bunt and struck out, then Utley grounded out to 1st. In the bottom of the frame, it was Washington's turn to waste a golden opportunity, also with one out and also on a single, a walk and a hit-by-pitch, by Daniel Murphy, Ryan Zimmerman and Danny Espinosa, respectively. Jose Lobaton was up next, but he hit a grounder back to Hill, who started a 1-2-3 double play to end the inning.

The Dodgers added a second run in the 3rd when Justin Turner walked with one out, went to second on a single by Adrian Gonzalez and scored on another single by Josh Reddick. Roark issued an intentional walk to Pederson for another one-out, bases-loaded situation, but now it was Grandal who grounded into a double play. The Dodgers were up 2-0, but should have had a bigger lead by that point. Hill got three more strikeouts in the bottom of the 3rd, thanks to his biting curveball, and in the top of the 4th, he even got a base hit, dropping a ball that rolled past the mound to 2B Murphy who bobbled the ball. It could well have been ruled an error, but in any case, Roark managed to escape that inning without giving up anything else. In the bottom of the 4th, the Nats got to Hill when Murphy led off with a walk, then after two outs, Espinosa was hit by a pitch once again. This time, Lobaton did not waste his opportunity. He jumped on a hanging curve ball and drove it beyond the left field fence for a three-run homer and the Nationals' first lead of the series.

Given a lead, Roark continued to struggle, giving up a pair of singles around the first out, and Dusty Baker had seen enough. He called on lefty specialist Marc Rzepczynski to come into the game but Mr. Scrabble walked pinch-hitter Yasiel Puig to load the bases. Grandal failed again, striking out this time, and another pinch-hitter, Howie Kendrick, hit a screaming liner to left, but right at Jayson Werth. One more wasted opportunity for the Dodgers. Hill was still in the game, but he gave up a lead-off single to Trea Turner, who stole second and took third on a single by Bryce Harper. Werth popped up, but Murphy singled to increase the lead to 4-2. That was the end for Hill, who gave way to Pedro Baez. He induced a double play to end the inning.

Rzepczynski, whose turns on the mound would usually last a couple of batters only, was still pitching for the Nats in the top of the 6th. He gave up a pair of walks while getting the first two outs and gave way to Sammy Solis, who registered the final out. Blake Treinen pitched a perfect 7th for Washington, then the Nats added an insurance run in the bottom of the frame with a two-out double by Werth, followed by a single by Murphy against Grant Dayton. The Dodgers had two innings to catch up, but really, they had lost the game when they had wasted a ton of chances in the early innings. Treinen and lefty Oliver Perez retired them in order in the 8th, then Mark Melancon retired them in the 9th, allowing only a single to Turner. The series was now tied as the two teams headed to the West Coast. This game was a case of the official scorer having to determine the winning pitcher, and he gave the victory to Treinen, who retired all four batters he faced, although Rzepczynski, who also got four outs and in addition wiggled out of a tough jam in the 5th, would have been an even worthier choice.

Game 3 @ Dodger Stadium[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Nationals 0 0 4 0 0 0 0 0 4 8 9 0
Dodgers 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 3 6 1
WP: Sammy Solis (1-0); LP: Kenta Maeda (0-1)
Home Runs: WAS - Anthony Rendon (1), Jayson Werth (1); LA - Carlos Ruiz (1)
  • Attendance: 53,901

The Nationals took the lead in the series with an 8-4 win over the Dodgers in Game 3; however, the game was much tighter than the final score indicated, as only a four-run outburst in the top of the 9th allowed Washington to pull away from what until then was a nail-biter. On the mound, Kenta Maeda, a rookie by MLB standards but a seasoned veteran of Japanese baseball, was facing off against former twenty-game winner Gio Gonzalez. The Dodgers made a couple of changes to their line-up, starting Yasiel Puig in right field and batting him clean-up, while Charlie Culberson began the game at second base in place of Chase Utley.

For the third straight game, the Dodgers took a lead in the 1st inning, but not before the Nats had left the bases loaded against Maeda in the top of the frame when Ryan Zimmerman struck out swinging. It was again rookie SS Corey Seager who drove in the first run, this time with a double that cashed in Justin Turner, who had walked just before Seager stepped up to the plate. The Nationals took aim at Maeda in the 3rd, however, scoring four runs. Trea Turner led off with a single, then Jayson Werth doubled to tie the score. After one out, Bryce Harper singled, driving in Werth, then he stole second base and advanced to third on a wild throw by catcher Yasmani Grandal. Anthony Rendon followed with a homer, and it was now 4-1. Maeda was the first batter due up in the bottom of the 4th, and his day of work ended early as manager Dave Roberts sent in Austin Barnes to pinch-hit for him.

Meanwhile, Gonzalez was cruising along after his 1st-inning troubles - until the bottom of the 5th that is. He gave up a one-out single to Joc Pederson, bringing up the pitcher's spot. Veteran catcher Carlos Ruiz was sent to bat, and he homered to left field to close the lead to 4-3. That was it for Gonzalez, as Dusty Baker immediately removed him from the base, calling upon Sammy Solis. There were a lot of pitching changes over the next few innings, but no more scoring until the top of the 9th. With only a one-run deficit, Roberts sent in closer Kenley Jansen to pitch, in order to keep the game close. The move did not work at all. Werth greeted Jansen by homering to center field, then Daniel Murphy drew a walk. Harper was hit by a pitch, then, after one out, Zimmerman doubled to right, driving in two more runs. He also moved to third on the throw home, and he came in to score a fourth run as pinch-hitter Chris Heisey hit a sacrifice fly off Ross Stripling, who had replaced the ineffective Jansen. The score was now 8-4, but Baker still asked closer mark Melancon to get the final three outs. He retired the Dodgers in order to end the game.

Game 4 @ Dodger Stadium[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Nationals 1 0 1 0 0 0 3 0 0 5 8 0
Dodgers 2 0 2 0 1 0 0 1 x 6 7 0
WP: Joe Blanton (1-0); LP: Blake Treinen (1-1); SV: Kenley Jansen (2)
Home Runs: LA - Adrian Gonzalez (1)
  • Attendance: 49,617

The Dodgers evened the series by winning Game 4, 6-5. They led for most of the game, but Washington managed to tie the score and it took a two-out rally in the 8th to score the winning run. On the mound, Washington manager Dusty Baker gambled by sending untested back-of-the-rotation starter Joe Ross to the mound, while Dave Roberts brought back Clayton Kershaw, his ace and Game 1 starter, on relatively short rest. It was a mismatch on paper, and the Dodgers took advantage of it.

Still, Washington managed to score first off Kershaw as Trea Turner led off the game with a single and Bryce Harper drew a walk. After one out, Daniel Murphy continued his hot hitting, singling in Turner for a 1-0 lead. It was short-lived, however, as in the bottom of the inning, Justin Turner was hit by a pitch and Adrian Gonzalez followed with a homer to right-center. There was no scoring in the 2nd, but in the 3rd, Turner once again led off with a single, went to third on a single by Jayson Werth and scored on a sacrifice fly by Murphy. Again, the Dodgers replied immediately. Kershaw helped his own cause with a lead-off double, but Ross retired the next two batters. However Turner singled to drive in Kershaw, then Ross lost the plate, issuing back-to-back walks to Gonzalez and Josh Reddick before plunking Joc Pederson to force in a second run. At this point, he was replaced by Oliver Perez, but Washington was trailing, 4-2.

Los Angeles added a 5th run in the 5th inning on a two-out single by Reddick followed by a double by Pederson, both aganst Reynaldo Lopez. Meanwhile, Kershaw was doing well after his early problems and L.A. seemed to be on its way to an easy win. In the 7th, however, Danny Espinosa led off with a single, but Kershaw retired the next two batters. Then Turner singled again and Harper walked to load the bases. By then Kershaw had thrown 110 pitches and was clearly at the end of his rope, so Pedro Baez was called in to get the final out. Instead, he plunked Werth to force in a run, on this day when the hit-by-pitch was the chef's special: after only four games, this series et a record with 11 hit batsmen, the most in any postseason series (the previous record was 10, in the 1909 World Series and the 2010 NLCS). Luis Avilan replaced Baez, but he allowed a single to Murphy, and two more runs scored. Suddenly, it was a 5-5 tie game.

The Dodgers won the game in the 8th on a rally that seemed really innocuous at first. Blake Treinen had retired the first two batters when there was another batter hit by a pitch, this time Andrew Toles. Andre Ethier was sent in to pinch-hit for Joe Blanton and he hit a single. Next up was Chase Utley, who had done nothing all game. Treinen got two quick strikes on him, and then Utley lined a pitch into right field, driving in Toles to make the score 6-5. Kenley Jansen may have been battered around the previous day, Roberts did not hesitate to send him back in to close out the game. It was the right decision as, completely unaffected by his poor outing, Jansen struck out Stephen Drew and Turner, then got Harper to ground out to Utley. The series was headed back to Washington for a decisive fifth game.

Game 5 @ Nationals Park[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Dodgers 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0 0 4 8 0
Nationals 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 3 7 0
WP: Julio Urias (1-0); LP: Marc Rzepczynski (0-1); SV: Clayton Kershaw (1)
Home Runs: LA - Joc Pederson (1); WAS - Chris Heisey (1)
  • Attendance: 43,936

Game 5 was decided in one epic inning - the 7th - which lasted 66 minutes and featured eight different pitchers taking the mound between the two teams. On paper, the Nationals should have won the game in a walk-over, as they had their ace, Max Scherzer, taking the mound on full rest, facing off against 37-year-old journeyman Rich Hill going on short rest and out on an even shorter leash. They got an excellent start from Scherzer but were still unable to erase their Division Series jinx, losing for the third time in three appearances since 2012, after having home field advantage and being considered prohibitive favorites all three years. The key to this game was Dusty Baker's inability to trust one relief pitcher to get him out of a jam; instead, he played the match-up game to its absurd conclusion, using six pitchers in the 7th while his team gave up all four runs. For his part, Dave Roberts decided to use his best pitchers as long as he could, and it proved to be the right decision.

Scherzer came out strong, retiring the Dodgers in order in the 1st, although he needed a lot of pitches to do so, as his control was far from pin-point. In the bottom of the inning, Hill did the same, picking up a pair of strikeouts in the process. Scherzer had another 1-2-3 inning in the 2nd, and his teammates gave him a run as Daniel Murphy singled to lead thing off, then stole second with one out. Ryan Zimmerman drew a walk and the much-maligned Danny Espinosa singled to right to pck up the RBI. However, Hill struck out the next two batters, limiting the damage. Scherzer walked Yasmani Grandal on four pitches to start the 3rd, then threw another ball to Andrew Toles before the Dodgers rookie LF ill-advisedly swung on the next pitch, grounding into a 3-6-3 double play. Hill was allowed to bat for himself and grounded out. He wasn't long for the game though. He gave up a lead-off single to Trea Turner, who stole second. He retired the next two batters but Turner advanced to third and Hill was then instructed to issue an intentional walk to Murphy. Did we mention Hill was on a short leash? He was immediately removed from the game in favor of Joe Blanton. Murphy stole second to put two men in scoring position, but Blanton got Anthony Rendon to fly out to center. It was the first time in the Series that Turner had reached base without scoring.

In the 4th, Scherzer struck out the side around a walk to Justin Turner and Blanton retired the Nats in order. The Dodgers finally managed to put something together in the 5th, when Josh Reddick and Joc Pederson opened with back-to-back singles, then after one out, Toles loaded the bases with another single. Roberts sent in veteran Andre Ethier to pinch-hit for Blanton, but he struck out and Chase Utley hit a ground ball, wasting the great chance. Roberts now turned to his ace-in-the-hole, 20-year-old Julio Urias. He had pitched well in the second half, but on strict pitch counts, and the Dodgers had not wanted to use him as a starter in order not to expose him. But in the most important game of the year for the team, those considerations went out the door. The young lefty got two quick outs before walking Harper. Just as the television network was showing past evidence of Urias's awesome pick-off move to first base, he sent Harper diving back to bag, barely safe. On his next attempt though, on a move that was millimeters away from being a balk, he nabbed Harper off the base for the third out. Scherzer pitched another scoreless inning in the top of the 6th, and the crowd at Nationals Park was beginning to feel confident; one or two more runs was all it needed to start celebrating early. Washington was also pressing to give Scherzer a bit bigger margin of manoeuver, and they paid for their temerity in the bottom of the 6th. Werth led off with a walk, then Urias got Murphy and Rendon to fly out. Up next was Zimmerman, who doubled to left field. In an ill-advised move, third base coach Bob Henley sent a surprised Werth all the way home, and even with the weak-armed Toles manning left, he was out by a country mile. The Nationals had had Urias in the ropes and had let him escape. Then came the fateful inning.

It has become an axiom in 21st century baseball that a manager should use every opportunity late in the game to create a favorable match-up, i.e. having a left-handed pitcher face a lefthanded batter, or removing that lefty pitcher when a right-handed batter is coming up, all in order to gain the platoon advantage. This has led to a proliferation of LOOGYs with absurdly low innings total, who are totally vulnerable to any non-lefthanded batter, but who will still be brought into a game in place of a righthander who is pitching well. That managerial philosophy was pushed to its absurd logical conclusion in the 7th inning, as it had been in th 9th inning of Game 4 of the other NLDS. Perhaps, some good could result, as those two games demonstrated the fallibility of this approach. This is how things went: on his first pitch of the inning, Scherzer was taken deep by Pederson, tying the score. It was Scherzer's 99th pitch of the game, so a case could be made for Baker deciding to remove him, but on the other hand it's not as if Washington's middle relievers were one of the the team's great strengths. So LOOGY Marc Rzepczynski came in to face Grandal, and he walked him on four pitches. Baker changed tacks again, now calling on Blake Treinen. Howie Kendrick batted for Toles and he singled to left. Robert used Austin Barnes as a pinch-runner for Grandal and with Urias due up, called on Charlie Culberson to pinch-hit, with his mission being to lay down a sacrifice bunt. He failed to do that, bunting foul to strike out. Treinen was wiggling out of the jam, but Baker took him out, bringing in Sammy Solis as part of a double switch. Roberts countered with pinch-hitter Carlos Ruiz. The man who had hit a two-run homer in Game 3 singled to left, Barnes scored from second and the Dodgers were up, 2-1. Solis got Corey Seager to fly out for the second out, then Baker decided to take him out, having catcher Jose Lobaton take a walk to the mound to delay the game in order to give Shawn Kelley more time to warm up. There used to be a saying that if you keep changing pitchers, you'll eventually fall on one who doesn't have his stuff that day. This is exactly what happened: Kelley did not have it, as he allowed a triple to Turner that scored two more runs, then hurt himself while facing Adrian Gonzalez. He had to be removed from the game, and Oliver Perez was brought in to get the final out.

The Nationals were now down by 4-1, but Los Angeles had to get 9 more outs with a bullpen that was not any more shut-down than Washington's. Grant Dayton came in and he immediately walked Danny Espinosa, one of freest swingers in the game. Mistake number one. He then grooved a fatball to pinch-hitter Chris Heisey, the career leader for pinch homers among active players. Mistake number two. Heisey did what he does best, blast a pitch to the left field stands to cut the lead to 4-3. Clint Robinson followed and he hit a single. He was now the tying run and there was still nobody out. Roberts did not try the match-up game that had failed so miserably for Baker. Instead, he brought in his closer, Kenley Jansen and basically told him to throw as hard as he could for as long as he could. After all, the season was on the line. It wasn't pretty but it worked. Turner flied out but Harper singled, moving pinch-runner Joe Ross to third. Werth struck out for out number two, Murphy received an intentional walk and then Rendon struck out with the bases loaded to end the inning. The 4-3 score would last until the end of the game.

In the 8th, Perez walked Pederson with one out, and Jansen laid down a sacrifice bunt to move him to second. Baker now called on his closer, one of the best in the business, Mark Melancon, but there was no lead left to close. Melancon walked Kendrick intentionally and then got Culberson to hit a comebacker back to him. For Washington, Stephen Drew drew a lead-off walk off Jansen but Espinosa was unable to bunt him over. The next two batters, both substitutes who had come into the game as a result of the myriad of earlier changes, Pedro Severino and Michael Taylor, both made outs. Melancon dispatched the Dodgers in order in the top of the 9th, while Jansen was now starting his third inning of work. He struck out Turner but walked Harper and Werth in turns. He was clearly done by that point. Roberts took him out of the game and then asked his best pitcher available, Clayton Kershaw, to end the game. No matter that he was a starter who was pitching on only one day of rest or that he had never recorded a save as a major leaguer (he did have one in the minor leagues years before when, ironically, Jansen was his catcher). Roberts's philosophy was that you have to use your best pitchers in such a game, and he was proved right. Kershaw induced Murphy to pop up for an infield fly and out number two. Melancon was now due up, so Baker called on his last option, young Wilmer Difo, to pinch-hit in what was a bad mismatch. Difo struck out swinging to end the game, which set a record for the longest nine-inning postseason game in history, at 4 hours and 32 minutes. The Dodgers were moving on and Washington was left to ponder on another early exit from the postseason.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Mike Bauman: "Unconventional Roberts makes the right calls",, October 14, 2016. [1]
  • Jamal Collier: "Loss leaves Nats wondering what might've been: Club won NL East title, had great individual efforts, but fell short of goal",, Ocber 14, 2016. [2]
  • Jamal Collier and Ken Gurnick: "Kershaw saves epic G5, Dodgers advance to NLCS",, October 14, 2016. [3]
  • Anthony DiComo: "Kershaw saves game, season for Dodgers",, October 14, 2016. [4]
  • Adrian Garro and Matt Monagan: "The Dodgers pulled out an intense, historic Game 5 win thanks to closer Clayton Kershaw (!)", "Cut 4",, October 14, 2016. [5]
  • Gabe Lacques: "Dodgers, ever resilient, knock off Nationals to set up showdown with Cubs", USA Today Sports, October 14, 2016. [6]
  • Gabe Lacques: "Kenley Jansen made Dodgers' wild bullpen plan reality: 'He gave us everything'", USA Today Sports, October 14, 2016. [7]
  • Mike Petriello: "Dodgers vs. Nationals: Position-by-position NLDS look: First postseason meeting between two clubs since Nats landed in DC",, October 5, 2016. [8]
  • Andrew Simon: "Decisions, trends that will decide NLDS Game 5",, October 13, 2016. [9]

Related Sites[edit]

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