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Three takeaways from Dodgers vs. Nationals Game 1

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The Dodgers excellent pitching with a patient offense led the way in their NLDS Game 1

Divisional Series - Washington Nationals v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game One Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

The Dodgers did not suffer any visible letdown after losing their second-straight World Series during their 2019 regular season. They won 106 games and were consistently good from beginning to end this past season.

But with their large lead, they have had a lot of time to contemplate and prepare for the postseason and they will try to replicate what they did in yesterday’s Game 1 for the rest of October.

The Dodgers 6-0 win over the Nationals featured strong starting pitching, bullpen work and a patient offense.

Walker Buehler set the tone with six scoreless innings pitched

No Dodger starting pitcher has the potential to dominate a game like Walker Buehler. And while he did not match his complete game starts he had this season, his six scoreless innings kept the Dodgers in front until they could add more runs in the late innings.

Buehler gave up just one hit and his three walks were a little unusual for him. But he did strike out eight and he had good fastball command to keep the Nationals in check all game.

The Dodgers and Buehler held on to a slim one-run lead until they added a run in the fifth. But Buehler only had three plate appearances against him with runners in scoring position and the Nationals were 0-for-2 with a walk against him.

Relievers delivered in their first postseason appearance

The Dodgers entered the top of the seventh with a two-run lead and nine more outs to get to get the win.

Following Buehler, the Dodgers had their lefty specialist Adam Kolarek face the left-handed Juan Soto. Kolarek would strikeout Soto and then exit for righthander Kenta Maeda.

Maeda retired the next two in order. The Dodgers added two runs to their lead in the bottom of the seventh and Maeda followed that with a perfect eighth inning with two strikeouts.

With the Dodgers adding two more runs, the Dodgers went to Joe Kelly making his postseason debut in a Dodger uniform. After giving up a leadoff double, Kelly got a ground out and then struck out Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto to end the game.

For the night, Dodger relievers faced ten batters and they held them to one hit with five strikeouts.

You would expect more high leverage situations going forward but this was a good way for the Dodger relievers to get into this series.

Dodgers need to take advantage of their opportunities to score

When Max Muncy came up with two outs and the bases loaded in the seventh inning, it was the tenth plate appearance the Dodgers had with runners in scoring position. The Dodgers were already 0-for-6 with three walks.

Muncy would single home two runs to extend the Dodger lead to 4-0 and gave the Dodgers a cushion they never gave up.

Fortunately, the Dodgers did not have to regret the bottom of the fourth inning when they had runners on first and third and no outs only to see Will Smith, Walker Buehler and A.J. Pollock retired in order without scoring the runner on third base.

It should be pointed out here that the Dodger offense did do two things they have done this season, they were patient in terms of receiving seven walks and they eventually hit home runs.

Gavin Lux made his first postseason plate appearance memorable with a pinch-hit home run in the eighth inning.

And then Joc Pederson broke the baseball on this swing.

So overall, it was a game where manager Dave Roberts saw his team perform well when they needed to and the next ask is to see if they can continue to perform this way throughout October.