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Simulating the Dodgers’ 2020 season: Games 24 and 25 vs. Nationals

After a shortened first game, we finish out the series against the Nationals in Out of the Park Baseball 21.

MLB: Spring Training-San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

This is the 20th 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! After a rain-shortened victory kicked off this series against the Nats, we move on to a doubleheader to finish it out.

First up: a roster note that happened between games. Offseason acquisition Jimmy Nelson is eligible to be taken off the IL, so we’ve demoted Dylan Floro (who had another rough game, as you’ll see in a second) to AAA. Nelson will slot into our bullpen as another long relief option, alongside Caleb Ferguson.

Here are Nelson’s stats and basic info in the game:

The first game of today’s doubleheader will feature Julio Urias (1-1, 2.13 ERA) against Anibal Sanchez (1-1, 2.51 ERA), while the second will see Ross Stripling (1-0, 2.59 ERA) vs. Joe Ross (2-0, 4.18 ERA).

It’s time for the games! 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 managerial decisions, follow me on Twitch!

The Dodgers took an early lead in this one went Chris Taylor hit a solo home run in the top of the second. That lead expanded significantly in the third. After Gavin Lux led off the inning by reaching on an error and Justin Turner singled him to third, Cody Bellinger doubled home Lux, Turner scored on a wild pitch, and Bellinger scored on a groundout. Next up was Taylor, who doubled, and Matt Beaty drove him home with an RBI single.

Urias was able to hold onto that five run lead, but there were some bumps along the way. In the bottom of the third, Urias loaded the bases and gave up runs on a Victor Robles single and Kurt Suzuki sac fly. Both teams put up a run in the fourth (an RBI single for Seager for the Dodgers, an RBI groundout for Trea Turner for the Nats), and it was 6-3 Dodgers heading into the fifth.

Urias’s pitch count was already climbing, and we knew the fifth would be his last inning in this game. The Dodgers added a pair of insurance runs in the top half of the inning, when a Justin Turner single with the bases loaded scored both Urias and Mookie Betts.

After Urias pitched a scoreless fifth, Dylan Floro relieved him in the sixth with a 9-3 Dodger lead (Austin Barnes had doubled home Chris Taylor in the top half of the inning). But Floro gave up a single to Asdrubal Cabrera to start the inning, and a two-run home run to pinch hitter Ryan Schimpf cut the lead to 9-5.

Joe Kelly was able to return some stability for the Dodgers on the mound, pitching a scoreless seventh and eighth. Pedro Baez entered the ninth to close what was now a 12-5 Dodger lead (Beaty hit a solo home run in the eighth, Betts hit a solo home run in the ninth and Bellinger scored Turner on an RBI single).

Baez gave up a solo home run to Eric Thames to lead off the inning, and then walked Juan Soto. But he was able to settle down after that, striking out Victor Robles and getting Kurt Suzuki to ground into a double play, ending the game for a 12-6 Dodger victory.

Overall, a nice day for the Dodger offense after an underwhelming last week at the plate. We made a few changes to keep the hot bats of Chris Taylor and Matt Beaty in the lineup, and boy it panned out. The two went a combined 6-for-10 in this one, each going yard for solo home runs.

Here’s the box score:

Next up: game two, and this was a weird one. Looking at the pitching matchup of Stripling vs. Scherzer, we had some doubts as to how competitive the third game of the series would be. But the Dodger bats tagged Scherzer early, hitting one solo home run in each of the first four innings to take an early 4-2 lead.

The four Dodgers who went yard: Mookie Betts (his third, all in the past week), Max Muncy (fourth), Chris Taylor (fourth) and Cody Bellinger (10th). And after a solo home run for Asdrubal Cabrera in the bottom of the fifth, Ross Stripling exited the game with a 4-3 Dodger lead.

The next few innings were a showcase for the Dodger bullpen: Brusdar Graterol pitched a scoreless sixth, Scott Alexander a scoreless seventh (plus two batters in the eighth), and Blake Treinen finished out the eighth on just two pitches — with Juan Soto on third and one out, Starlin Castro hit a deep fly ball to center. Cody Bellinger gunned out Soto at the plate, maintaining the 4-3 lead.

The Dodgers nearly got an insurance run in the top of the ninth, when pinch hitter A.J. Pollock doubled to left with two outs. After Mookie Betts walked, Gavin Lux grounded out to end the inning.

Enter Kenley Jansen, with a one-run lead in the ninth. On his second pitch, Victor Robles sent a towering home run to center field, tying the game 4-4. Jansen got Yan Gomes and Ryan Schimpf to fly out in the infield, but pinch hitter Yadiel Hernandez reached base with a two-out infield single. Next up: Adam Eaton, who hit a double into the right field corner, scoring Hernandez and giving the Nats a walk-off win.

Here’s the box score:

Next up: a three-game series on the road against the Pirates, who we swept quite convincingly last time we saw them. First, we’ll see Alex Wood (3-0, 1.24 ERA) against James Marvel, a 26-year-old righty who went 0-3 with an 8.31 ERA in four starts for the Pirates last season, and was recently called up from AAA Indianapolis (1-1, 3.46 ERA in two starts). See you then!