After a shocking turn of events and a grand slam by Howie Kendrick, the Washington Nationals have defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers and are headed to the NLCS to face the St. Louis Cardinals. The Nationals battled to five games against the National League favorite to make it to the World Series after winning the 2019 NL Wildcard game and then defeating the Dodgers.
The series began with the Dodgers sending a message after a 6-0 shutout victory over the Nationals. Walker Buehler threw a gem for the Dodgers, allowing only one hit over the course of six innings before handing it over to the bullpen who managed to allow only one hit over the next three innings. The Nationals just could not get anything going, only managing to get five total base runners on the day. It was the Dodgers offense that showed up ready to go, and then belting two home runs in the eighth inning to put an exclamation point on the win. They had a lead after the first inning and carried that lead the rest of the way. The Dodgers did damage on the Nationals bullpen rather than Patrick Corbin who only allowed two runs (only one earned) over six innings.
In-game two, it was the Nationals who wanted to prove it was going to take more than three short games to eliminate them (unlike the Minnesota Twins) came away with the 4-2 victory. Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw was on the hill and allowed three runs on six hits throughout six innings pitched for the Dodgers. The Nationals got a solid six innings with only one blemish of a run. Max Scherzer came in and threw an inning in relief to help ensure that the Nationals would be able to close out the game. Offensively it was the top of the lineup that racked up the most hits, especially Trea Turner, Adam Eaton, and Anthony Rendon all with two hits in the game two victory.
The Dodgers wanted to take back that dominance in game three and did a good job of that by beating the Nationals 10-4 and taking the 2-1 series lead. Anibal Sanchez threw five innings for the Nationals allowing only one run, but it was Corbin who again got tagged for six runs only recorded two outs before being yanked. The Nats struggled after turning the ball over to the bullpen and that would be the ultimate downfall for them in game three. Possible NL Cy Young Award candidate Hyun-Jin Ryu allowed two runs on four hits over five innings before Joe Kelly came into the game to allow two more runs. After that, it was the traditional Dodgers bullpen who allowed only one hit the rest of the game allowing Kenley Jansen to record the save. Justin Turner had three RBI for the Dodgers going 3-for-6 at the plate on the night with one of those being a home run in the sixth inning.
In a win-or-go-home game for the Nationals, they managed to stay alive in game four after defeating the Dodgers 6-1. The Nationals received an incredible outing out of their ace, Scherzer, who allowed only one run (the only run) on four hits over seven innings pitched. The bullpen was able to close it out with only one hit being allowed between Sean Doolittle and Daniel Hudson. Dodgers starter Rich Hill only managed to last 2.2 innings pitched, allowing one run before he was pulled for Kenta Maeda. It was Julio Urías who allowed three runs and started the snowball effect where Dodgers relievers began allowing runs. Longtime Nationals veteran Ryan Zimmerman launched a three-run home run in the fifth inning that gave the Nationals some comfort to go up 5-1 after the fifth inning.
Immediately out of the gates the Dodgers appeared to have the edge after a two-run home run in the first inning off of Stephen Strasburg, but things would change by the time it was all said and done. Strasburg would finish the day with six innings allowing three runs on six hits. After turning the ball over to the bullpen, they would get the job done and Sean Doolittle would close out the game for the Nationals. The Dodgers started Walker Buehler who pitched 6.2 innings allowing only one run on four hits, then handing the ball to Clayton Kershaw who recorded the out to close out the seventh inning. Kershaw would then blow the lead in the eighth allowing back-to-back home runs to tie the game 3-3. It was Joe Kelly who would allow the grand slam by Howie Kendrick in the top of the tenth inning to give the Nationals the lead they needed.
With the Nationals victory complete, it means that the final two teams in the National League are the Nationals and Cardinals who will battle in the NLCS while the Yankees are still awaiting an opponent between the Houston Astros and Tampa Bay Rays who will need to play game five on Thursday, October 10th.