The Nationals beat the Dodgers, 8-3, in Game 3 of the NLDS on Monday and are now one win away from the NLCS.
While the Dodgers are a very good team, this one may have been over before it started.
“I think starting Gio Gonzalez in Game 3 was a genius move by the Nationals and Dusty Baker,” Bleacher Report senior MLB writer Scott Miller said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “They got a split in D.C., came out to L.A. and they threw the lefty, which has been the Dodgers’ kryptonite this year. They’ve got the worst batting average against left-handed pitchers in the major leagues. So Gonzalez, it wasn’t like he was sharp or dominant. The Dodgers had him on the ropes. They scored first.”
Indeed, Corey Seager’s RBI double gave the Dodgers a 1-0 lead in the first. The Nationals, however, responded with four runs in the third.
“Corey Seager, the kid is so good, but the Dodgers scored early and Kenta Maeda just didn’t have it, either,” Miller said. “It became a battle of the bullpens, and the Nationals kicked their ass. They’re in really, really good shape now obviously, one win away from knocking the Dodgers out.”
Game 4 is Tuesday at 5 p.m. ET.
“So now the Dodgers are in trouble,” Miller said. “Their backs are against the wall and they’ve got a big decision to make. The Dodgers were going to go with the rookie, Julio Urias, to start Game 4. Now down 2-1, they may come back with Clayton Kershaw on short rest. That’s the big decision the Dodgers are sleeping on.”
Kershaw helped the Dodgers to a 4-3 win in Game 1 of the series.
“I have a hunch they’re going to come back with Kershaw (on Tuesday), but the problem they face is they’ve got to get two wins and they don’t have much pitching after Kershaw,” Miller said. “Even if they bring him back on short rest tomorrow, then everybody flies back to D.C. for Game 5, and the Nationals have Max Scherzer waiting. If the Dodgers burn Kershaw in Game 4, that leaves them with the rookie Julio Urias in Game 5. Rich Hill maybe on short rest, but he’s had all kinds of problems with a blister on his finger on his pithing hand. So they’re nervous about that. They’re about out of bullets here.”