'Los Angeles Dodgers at Washington Nationals MLDS Game Five


"Man, this is going to be a heck of a ballgame", he said.

Asked to clarify, just for the record, that he was in fact guaranteeing the win, Turner laughed.

Said Baker about Game 5: "I know Kershaw ain't pitchin'". The Dodgers and Nationals will play at 2 p.m. PT if the Cubs-Giants series requires a fifth game.

That's what can happen when you're permitted to finally exhale after falling behind, coming back to take a lead, losing that lead, opening a bigger lead, losing that lead, too, and then winning on your team's last productive swing.

The defining element of that series, though, was Maddon's approach to Bryce Harper, who came into the matchup with 10 homers in his first 27 games, still closer to his MVP 2015 than to his season-long struggle this year.

Turner, just to be clear, was only playing along with the media, his guarantee not worth the paper it wasn't printed on.

Los Angeles Dodgers' Joc Pederson falls to the ground after being hit by a pitch during the third inning in Game 4 of a baseball National League Division Series against the Washington Nationals in Los Angeles, Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016.

As promising as that sounds, the odds might not be in the visitor's favor. On the mound for the Nationals will be 20-game victor Max Scherzer. "Just keep that game tied and give our offense a chance".

The approach worked - Harper went 1 for 4 with a single and a sacrifice fly, scoring only three runs - because Ryan Zimmerman was hitting cleanup behind Harper at the time. Three of their four productive rallies didn't even begin until two were out.

The general conclusion here is this - Kershaw's not a great playoff pitcher.

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Pitching on short rest for the fourth consecutive postseason (the third time in an elimination game) Kershaw didn't dominate the Nationals' lineup - only half of it. There is only one baseball game remaining in this round, and even the team that has been the focus of the entire sport all year will be watching it play out.

"I'm a little spent myself", Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.

Kershaw opened the game by giving up a leadoff single and a walk before Murphy's RBI single. Andre Ethier followed with a single to left and Utley got a hit into right field, scoring Toles from second base for the winning run. He actually only gave up five baserunners in six innings (0.83 WHIP), which is exceptional.

"I thought he pitched really well - gutted it out", Stafford said during a conference call. Just like that, all Kershaw's hard work went down the drain. "We put some pretty good at-bats against him in Game 1, and we're confident that we can do that again". Kershaw was pulled after three walks in the seventh, and all would come around to score.

The orange towel-waving sellout crowd of 43,166, perhaps spoiled this decade by the every-other-year title success, had been counting on a few more games by the bay this October.

This is a 37-year-old who rightly is celebrated for his professionalism and all-out approach but also often reminded of his 37-year-oldness. He has already racked up seven hits, including three for extra-bases, and has 12 total bases so far in the series.

Reliever Joe Blanton later remarked about liking Utley's heart rate in such situations. I heard Chase calling it and at the same time, I was kind of going for it.

The Dodgers forced a Game 5 with a 6-5 win at home on Tuesday in Game 4.

"It's not always easy", Turner said. But Scherzer isn't just any right-hander.

The Chicago Cubs are used to having to wait for the identity of their playoff opponents this year, and they'll be in that position again this week as they await the victor of the series between the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers. How terrible would it be for at least a temporary return to the days when baseball was played under the sun?