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Dodgers running out of time for NLDS home field advantage

Plus notes on Kershaw, Zimmerman, Heisey, and more

Washington Nationals v Los Angeles Dodgers
No platoon for Ryan Zimmerman, it seems.
Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The Dodgers’ loss to the Giants on Friday night matched the Nationals’ output in their series opener against the Marlins. But it ticked another day off the baseball calendar, and the Dodgers find themselves two games behind the Nationals with two games left to play.

LA owns the tiebreaker, but in order to secure home field advantage in the National League Division Series they need to beat the Giants on both Saturday and Sunday and have the Nationals drop their final two games at home to Miami.

Nationals 93-67 (.581)
Dodgers 91-69 (.569) 2 GB

Washington can clinch home field advantage in the NLDS with either a win or a Dodgers loss. The NLDS opens on Friday, Oct. 7.

Game 4 thoughts

We have three years of Division Series to look back on, with Clayton Kershaw starting in Game 4 on three days rest all three years — the off days allow for the Game 2 starter to pitch Game 5 on regular rest if needed — though the earliest we officially found out about Kershaw’s starting assignment was the day before Game 4.

This year is a little different, with Kershaw so recently missing 10 weeks with a herniated disc in his back, and will have only a total of five starts since his return heading into the NLDS. Manager Dave Roberts addressed the possibility of Kershaw starting on three days rest on Friday, and said aloud what was pretty obvious.

No platoon for Zimmerman

Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman wasn’t in the lineup on Friday night, and has had a rough year, hitting just .219/.273/.373 with 15 home runs in 113 games, including .222/.269/.364 against right-handers.

Old friend Clint Robinson, a left-handed bat, was in Friday’s lineup against Miami, but Nationals manager Dusty Baker said on Friday that Zimmerman wouldn’t platoon in the NLDS, per Mark Zuckerman of MASN:

“There’s certain guys that I feel that Clint may have a better chance of being successful against,” Baker said. “But that’s not a platoon for me. And also, I’ve got to make sure Zim gets there healthy. ... I’ve got to take care of Zim, because he’s been nursing some things, and that field’s conditions are terrible. Like yesterday, he could’ve gotten hurt with that wind blowing and making that outstanding catch. So, got to secure our guys.”

Perhaps the biggest news from the Nationals on Friday was this wonderful quote from old friend Baker about another old friend:

Friday scores

Marlins 7, Nationals 4

Giants 9, Dodgers 3

Saturday schedule

1:05 p.m. PT: Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw) at Giants (Ty Blach)

1:05 p.m.: Marlins (Wei-Yin Chen) at Nationals (Tanner Roark)