Strasburg, Nationals Hold Off Dodgers in NLDS Game 2

strasburg
Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Heading to Washington with a two-game lead would have been a major advantage for the Dodgers. Arriving home having split both games in Los Angeles would have been an apparent edge for the Nationals. Either way, Friday night’s NLDS Game 2 was a huge contest for both sides.

Stephen Strasburg threw six very effective frames, and the Dodgers could not overcome the Washington bullpen in the latter innings, as the Nationals held on for a 4-2 victory at Chavez Ravine.

Early in the contest, Strasburg was seemingly untouchable. The Dodgers didn’t even register their first hit until catcher Will Smith lined a single to left-center field in the bottom of the fifth inning.

From the game’s onset, the Washington offense capitalized on starter Clayton Kershaw‘s erratic command. In the top-half of the first, Trea Turner poked a double just past Justin Turner at third base to lead off the game. Later in the inning, the Nationals loaded the bases after Anthony Rendon walked and Juan Soto was hit by a pitch. Turner subsequently scored on a Howie Kendrick single, but Kershaw escaped the opening frame trailing by just one run.

In the second inning, Victor Robles lead off by being hit by a pitch and advanced to second on a Strasburg sacrifice bunt. Robles plated the Nationals’ second run after an Adam Eaton single to center. One batter later, Eaton scored after Rendon doubled to left field.

Washington led 3-0 after two.

Kershaw ultimately settled down in the middle innings and held the Nationals scoreless over the next four frames, but Stasburg was equally as impressive. When the smoke settled on Strasburg’s evening, he threw six full innings, surrendering just one earned run on three hits and no walks while striking out 10.

The Dodgers only run off the starting right-hander came in the sixth when Turner hit a sac fly to right scoring Matt Beaty, who reached base with a pinch-hit single.

With Sean Doolittle pitching for Washington in the bottom of the seventh, the Dodgers cut the lead to one run after a mammoth homer to deep right off the bat of Max Muncy. However, the Nats struck right back when Asdrubal Cabrera singled off of Dustin May, scoring Ryan Zimmerman and stretching the Nationals’ lead to 4-2 heading into the bottom half of the eighth.

Surprisingly,  Washington ace Max Scherzer came on to throw the eighth inning, holding the Dodgers at bay and striking out the entire side in the process.

With Daniel Hudson pitching for Washington in the bottom of the ninth, Turner hit a ground-rule double to start a no-out rally for Los Angeles. After A.J. Pollock struck out and Cody Bellinger popped out to third, Muncy was walked intentionally. Smith walked on four pitches in the subsequent AB, setting up a bases-loaded showdown between Hudson and Corey Seager, who ended up punching out to end the game.

Coincidentally, the Dodgers struck out a whopping 17 times on the evening.

The Nats out-hit the Dodgers 10-5, as Turner, Eaton and Rendon all had two hits for Washington.

After a travel day on Saturday, the series moves to the nation’s capital on Sunday tied at one-game apiece.

First pitch for Game 3 is slated for 7:45 PM Eastern time.

 

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17 thoughts on “Strasburg, Nationals Hold Off Dodgers in NLDS Game 2

  1. Tough to win a ring when your best players don’t deliver in the biggest moments! Year after year! Kersh, Seager and Belly have to step up or we go another year wo a championship!

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  2. It’s one game, but….. 17 strikeouts? The all or nothing Dodgers at work. We held them to 4 runs on a night Kershaw wasn’t sharp. That should have been good enough.

    Scherzer is up next and he already has 3 Ks in this series. On his bullpen day.

    Rich is right. We need Bellinger to show up. MVP? Let’s see it. Washington has great starting pitching. We need to hit. As Hernandez put it:

    “Two games into October, the Dodgers are batting .190.

    Corey Seager is one for eight. Cody Bellinger is 0 for 6 with four strikeouts. A.J. Pollock is 0 for 8 with six strikeouts.”

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  3. See that grip Strasburg has on the ball above? We used to call that a palm ball. It’s his change-up that comes out aimed at the middle of the plate then dives arm side out of the strike zone. He had everybody waving bye bye to that pitch last night.

    Will we solve the Nats starting pitching? I kinda doubt it. Certainly not if we continue chasing. 29 strikeouts in 2 games. Eyeshadow.

    The strategy is still the same – lay off pitches out of the zone, keep them close, then score late. We may have an issue with that if they keep inserting bullpen sessions after the 5th.

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  4. Scherzer is not a lock to pitch on Sunday and as of right now, there is no scheduled starter for DC. They are waiting before announcing the starter, it could very well be Sanchez, with Scherzer going in game 4, which is now being played for certain. The Dodgers were definitely in swing mode last night and were not the same patient hitters they were in game 1. 17 strikeout is a testament to that. Only Muncy seems to be the same hitter right now. Bellinger is in his all or nothing mode, swinging early and often at pitches he cannot drive. And he is the same hitter at this point that he has been in all of his post seasons, bad. I give Seager a little leeway since he has not been in a post season game since 2016. And he did have a hit in game 1. I think all of them are trying a little to hard to win the games alone and have gotten out of their team concept, which only showed up in the 9th last night, and even then Belli and Pollock came out of their shoes trying to hit bad pitches instead of waiting for a good one. Seager struck out on a pitch a snake could not hit. And that same back foot slider has been his bane all year. But I give a lot of credit to DC for the great pitching they got last night. Kershaw continues to struggle early and this time, those struggles could not be overcome. I myself would have pitched Ryu in Dodger Stadium where he has been nigh un-hittable. But Ryu has been good in DC also. Now the bats need to rise from their slumber. Yanks pound Twins, Rays fall to the Stros and the Braves evened things up with St Loo. Mets fire Callaway, and the beat goes on.

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    1. We aren’t facing junior varsity pitching anymore. We will have to start hitting the good pitching at some point. I agree with your analysis Bear, the team is pressing. It’s all or nothing with their approach and it is an organizational strategy. Smart pitching can take advantage of that, and we saw it yesterday.

      I like Ryu in Game 3, no matter who Washington comes back with. Scherzer threw 14 pitches yesterday. He should be ready by Sunday afternoon but it won’t surprise me if they wait. If it were me I wouldn’t wait. He blew 3 guys away last night. He should be able to go 6 tomorrow. All that said – I hope they go with Sanchez.

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      1. Hitting a dead-straight fastball is almost an exact science. The study of breaking pitches is an entirely different world. This could be where Van Scoyock’s lack of professional time in the bigs comes into play. You just don’t see a slider like Scherzer’s in high school or JUCO.

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      2. I agree with you Scoop. If I’m the Nats I start Scherzer on Sunday. If they start Sanchez and we manage to win it, we regain our confidence. Start Scherzer and they have a better chance of going into game 4 with a 2-1 advantage at home. They could even start Corbin on 3 days rest in game 4 and come back with Strasburg for game 5 if needed. Sanchez could be the long man if they need one in any of those games. If I’m Martinez I keep throwing the Big 3 at us.

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  5. Pollock batting 3rd which is best hitter slot. I have not been impressed with him from day #1. If Verdugo was healthy he would be on the bench. He was brought on board to be a center fielder and he is playing left. Sit his ass down looking lost with his 6 k’s and play Kike or Beaty or Taylor. Go LA bring home the bacon!!!!!!!!!!

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    1. Get the facts first Larry. Up until last night, Pollock was 7-14 against Strasburg. Pollock is playing LF simply because it is less stress on his hammy. He is a much better fielder than Beaty, a better hitter than Kike or Taylor. And he has been pretty good the second half. Verdugo was slumping before his injury and has not played in over a month and no doubt won’t this post season. Dodgers know what they are doing. You need to pick on the super star, in this case Bellinger who has not been as good as he was the first 80 games for a long time.

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  6. We need to take better ab’s. Be patient, swing at strikes and take a walk. Next man up mentality. Stop trying to hit home runs with every swing!

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  7. Larry is right about one thing – Pollock has not impressed since Day 1… of the playoffs. Maybe hitting third will give his confidence a boost. But if he’s 0fer again I might try somebody else out there. Beaty works.

    “Stop trying to hit home runs with every swing”. Good advice. Nobody on this team is programmed that way. I’ve seen Bellinger and Pederson go the other way on rare occasions. Usually with 2 strikes. Strikes one and two they are either looking at it or they are retying their shoes.

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    1. He was their hottest hitter in September and has been one of the better players on the team since the all star break. Cody was much worse in the 17 world series. Pollock is a pro. He might not be playing well right now, but I trust managements assessment of his ability’s a lot more than I do yours.

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