The Dodgers held on to an early lead to steal game one in Washington.
The Dodgers took game one by using a fairly familiar fomula. Starter going about five innings, offense does just enough before getting shut down and the bullpen bails them out.
Kershaw struggled through the second inning thanks in part to the defense behind him. After Daniel Murphy singled, Anthony Rendon grounded into what should have been a double play, but he beat the throw out. Ryan Zimmerman singled, and Kershaw struck out Danny Espinosa (should have ended the inning). Pedro Severino came up and grounded to Utley who was shifted into position, but he booted the ball to load the bases. Opposing pitcher Max Scherzer worked a long at bat, but popped out to end the threat.
Kershaw worked himself out of trouble in the second, but he remained in trouble for the rest of his outing. Bryce Harper doubled with one out in the third, and Kershaw followed that up with his 12th walk of the season. He threw a pitch in the dirt on a double steal to move two runners in scoring position, and both scored on a Rendon single to right.
Severino led off the fourth with a double and moved to third on a sac bunt. A sacrifice fly plated him for the third run, but Kershaw escaped the fourth. He was at 83 pitches after four, so it was surprising when he hit for himself and came back out for the fifth.
Kershaw struggled again in the fifth, but stranded runners on the corners to end his outing. It was a torturous outing, as the Nats left a runner in scoring position in the final four innings.
He allowed eight hits and walked a batter in five innings. He needed 103 pitches to finish five, but he did strike out seven. It certainly wasn’t his finest outing, but five innings of three-run ball isn’t exactly worst-case.
Fortunately for Kershaw, the offense woke up against Max Scherzer. It started early on, as Corey Seager hit the first pitch he saw over the centerfield wall.
Andrew Toles got the party going again in the third, as he led off with a single. After a sac bunt, Utley knocked him in with an RBI single. Seager barely beat out an inning-ending double play, and Justin Turner rewarded the hustle with a two-run homer to make it 4-0. Kershaw let the Nationals back in the game, but the offense did their jobs early on.
Unsurprisingly, the bats went quiet after Turner’s homer. Scherzer retired the next eight batters before Turner hit a single in the sixth. He moved to second on a wild pitch and took third on a grounder, but Josh Reddick grounded out to leave him there.
The “pitchers’ duel” didn’t live up to the hype, as Scherzer allowed four runs in his six innings. He looked much more sharp than Kershaw did, but the Dodgers hit two balls over the wall. He finished his outing with 93 pitches.
The Dodgers had some chances against the Nationals bullpen, but couldn’t bring home any insurance. In the sixth, the Dodgers had a single and an intentional walk, but Utley grounded out against a lefty.
The Nats used Mark Melancon in a non-save situation, and the Dodgers actually hit him around a bit. Grandal and Howie Kendrick singled and Yasiel Puig was intentionally walked for the second time, forcing Kenley Jansen to hit for himself. He didn’t have a terrible at-bat, but struck out on a pitch in the dirt to keep the Dodgers at four runs.
Baez got a little help, as Murphy was thrown out trying to steal. Why Murphy, who hadn’t started since mid-September with a buttock injury, was trying to steal? Who knows. Yasmani Grandal made a strong throw and Charlie Culberson, who had come in with Baez on a double-switch, made a really nice tag. Baez then got Rendon to pop out to end the seventh.
Baez got a flyout in the eighth, and was pulled for Kenley Jansen. Jansen allowed a pinch-hit double to Clint Robinson, but escaped the eighth with the lead.
Jansen’s command was lacking in the eighth, but after batting it looked much better in the ninth. He struck out three for a five-out save, including getting Werth to chase to end the game.
The Dodgers have stolen home field advantage. All they have to do now is hold down the fort in LA, and they won’t have to fly back to D.C.
Pace yourselves people. I’m already freaking out, and this is only game one.