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Simulating the Dodgers’ 2020 season: Game 14 vs. Nationals

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The Dodgers return home for a three-game set against the NL East-leading Nationals in Out of the Park Baseball 2021.

MLB: Spring Training-Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

This is the twelfth installment of an ongoing series, where my dad and I will simulate each game on the Dodgers schedule until real Dodger baseball returns. Catch up on the rest of the series here! Thanks all for the comments and support!

Welcome back! Last time out, the Dodgers rebounded from a lopsided loss against the Cardinals to close out the series with a win, moving to 11-2 on the young season.

Today’s pitching matchup will see Julio Urias (1-1, 2.19 ERA) against Patrick Corbin (1-0, 2.70 ERA). Corey Seager is projected to miss the first two games of the series, but should be back in time for the third game on Sunday.

It’s time for the game! Watch it here or scroll below to find out what happened. If you want to be notified when we go live with future simulations and chime in with your live feedback and/or input on manager decisions, follow me on Twitch!

With the score tied 0-0, the Dodgers struck first in the bottom of the third. Julio Urias led off with a single, and Mookie Betts and Max Muncy walked to load the bases. Justin Turner singled Urias home, and Betts scored on a Cody Bellinger double play to make it 2-0. Back-to-back doubles by Chris Taylor and A.J. Pollock made it 4-0, giving Urias a nice cushion.

The Nats were able to get some of it back in the very next inning, however. Juan Soto led off with a double, and three batters later Starlin Castro hit a two-run home run, cutting the lead to 4-2.

Turner answered with a two-run home run of his own in the bottom of the fourth, scoring Urias (who once again singled to lead off the inning) and making it 6-2 Dodgers. A solo home run by Trea Turner in the top of the fifth cut the lead to 6-3, but the Dodgers answered yet again with an RBI Gavin Lux double in the bottom of the fifth, scoring Taylor and making it 7-3.

The frantic pace of scoring would slow down in the sixth and seventh, but things picked up in earnest in the eighth. Juan Soto homered off of Scott Alexander, and Castro singled home Asdrubal Cabrera to cut the lead to 7-5.

Joc Pederson delivered a pinch-hit home run in the bottom of the eighth to make it 8-5, but the Nationals weren’t done yet. Kenley Jansen came in to the game, looking for his fifth save in five opportunities. After striking out the pinch hitter Yadiel Hernandez to start the ninth, Jansen gave up back-to-back doubles to Trea Turner and Victor Robles, and back-to-back singles by Eric Thames and Juan Soto. Kurt Suzuki hit a sac fly, scoring Robles, and Cabrera singled Thames home. All-in-all, the damage was three runs, five hits, Jansen’s first blown save, and a new game at 8-8 heading into the bottom of the ninth.

Neither team had any real opportunities until the bottom of the 11th, the first of many agonizing situations where the Dodgers could not quite win the game. Mookie Betts led off the inning with a single, stole second, and advanced to third on a Muncy single. We decided to hold Betts at third because there were no outs and the heart of the order was due up. That turned out to be a mistake. Justin Turner grounded out to second, advancing Muncy but not Betts, and after the Nats intentionally walked Cody Bellinger, Chris Taylor grounded out (the Nats got the force play at home) and A.J. Pollock struck out to end the inning.

In the bottom of the 13th, the Dodgers had yet another opportunity start with a Mookie Betts lead-off single and steal of second base. Max Muncy walked, and Justin Turner advanced Betts to third on a fielder’s choice. Bellinger walked, loading the bases, but Taylor and Pollock both struck out to keep the score 8-8.

In the bottom of the 14th, Gavin Lux and Will Smith led off the inning with singles, but the Dodgers still could not bring them home.

In the top of the 15th, we brought in the last remaining member of our bullpen: Caleb Ferguson, who entered the game slightly tired. We were hoping to save him for the rest of the series, but he retired the Nats in order to bring us to the bottom of the inning.

Bellinger led off the inning with a single, and Chris Taylor hit a 1-2 pitch deep to left field, winning the game with a two-run walk-off home run.

Here’s the box score, the first of the season that required three separate screenshots:

So Caleb Ferguson picks up his second win of the season, and despite the horrible performance from Jansen it’s hard not to be impressed by the performance of the Dodger bullpen here. Both Brusdar Graterol and Dylan Floro provided two scoreless innings when we really needed them, keeping the game alive just long enough for the Dodger offense to finally bring someone home in extra innings.

Next up: game two of the series, with Ross Stripling (1-0, 3.18 ERA) and our depleted bullpen up against Joe Ross (2-0, 1.80 ERA). See you then!