The Nationals and Dodgers faced each other six times this season, and Los Angeles won five games. It doesn’t necessarily mean anything heading into the National League Division Series, but it’s still fun to relive the games.
The two examples that immediately come to mind when talking regular season record against a team vs. the playoffs are the 1980s Dodgers. In 1983, LA beat the Phillies 11 times in 12 games during the season, outscoring them 49-15, but fell in four games in the NLCS. Five years later, the Dodgers dropped 10 of 11 games to the 100-win Mets, and were outscored 49-18, yet beat New York in seven games.
Take the following with a grain of salt. The Dodgers didn’t face Max Scherzer, for instance, and the Nationals didn’t face Rich Hill.
What is much more of a determinant of how the NLDS will go is how each team plays in the series. But again, just for funsies, let’s look back at the six games these teams played a few months back.
Clayton Kershaw struck out eight and walked none in seven innings, allowing only one run on six hits at Dodger Stadium. Justin Turner homered in the first inning, then drove in Corey Seager, who doubled, in the fourth. Joc Pederson homered in the fifth, the third run against starter Yusmeiro Petit.
Tanner Roark was absolutely cruising, holding the Dodgers scoreless on four hits through seven innings, with just 81 pitches thrown. It looked like the solo home runs from Bryce Harper and Danny Espinosa might hold up, but then Pederson walked and Yasiel Puig got an infield single to open the eighth inning, bringing up Yasmani Grandal.
Grandal’s home run was a stunner, completely turning the game around and giving the Dodgers their fifth straight win.
Another game, another late deficit for the Dodgers. This time, Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos homered in the eighth inning, off Pedro Baez, to give his team a 3-2 lead for closer Shawn Kelley in the ninth.
After one out, Howie Kendrick singled, then Puig did the same, but instead of starting a rally, the ball rolled under Michael Taylor’s glove in center field and just kept going. By the time Taylor retrieved the ball, not only did Kendrick score the tying run but Puig came all the way around for a walk-off Little League home run in what was probably the signature moment between these two teams this season.
The Dodgers jumped on Reynaldo Lopez in his big league debut, with four hits and three runs in the first inning. Chase Utley homered to lead off the game, then Pederson hit a two-out single in the frame.
Utley had three hits, Grandal homered, and Turner had a double among his three hits. All that offense backed Scott Kazmir, who allowed one run in seven innings, with eight strikeouts and no walks in the opener of the Dodgers’ second series in their post-break road trip.
Gio Gonzalez held the Dodgers at bay with one run in six innings, striking out six with two walks. Bud Norris started for the Dodgers and allowed three home runs, including one by Bryce Harper in the first inning that hasn’t landed yet.
Stephen Strasburg was the first National League pitcher in a century to start 13-0, and carried that perfect record along with a 2.51 ERA into this getaway day start. The Dodgers were able to hang the “and one” on Strasburg thanks to early work by Turner, who hit a two-run home run in the first inning and a three-run shot in the third.
Strasburg struck out 10 in six innings, but his six runs allowed were too much for the Nationals to overcome. Julio Urias returned to the rotation with this spot start after barely pitching for three weeks, and allowed one run in four innings in his second no-decision of the year against Washington.