NLDS comes to Dodger Stadium

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After splitting the series in Washington, D.C. with the heartbreaking loss to the Nationals on Sunday, the Los Angeles Dodger will now host two games of the National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium. The first one is today, at 1:05 p.m.

Daniel Murphy during All-Star Weekend
Daniel Murphy during
All-Star Weekend

One of the problems the Dodgers had in Sunday’s game was that they stranded 12 runners in scoring position. Three times they had the bases loaded in the early innings but failed to push runs across the plate. Individual players will take the blame, from pitcher Rich Hill, to catcher Yasmani Grandal to Chase Utley, but it doesn’t rest with three players.

Hill, the starting pitcher for the Dodgers, didn’t throw a bad game, but he gave up a three-run homer in the 4th inning which proved to be the difference in the game. In that inning Hill walked N.L. MVP hopeful Daniel Murphy who told LAPX during the All-Star Weekend he liked to emulate San Diego Padres great Tony Gwynn who would extend at-bats and get on base better than other hitters. Murphy has put those lessons to good use all season and leading off the 4th with a walk was big.

Hill got the next two batter out, but then hit Nats shortstop Danny Espinosa with a pitch, putting two runners on the bases. And then little used catcher José Lobatón got the right pitch to put the ball 387 feet over the left field wall.

Corey Seager
Corey Seager

Washington added two more runs after that, both RBI’s by Murphy.

Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager, the likely N.L. Rookie of the Year, started the game with a solo homerun in the first, the second time he’s done that in the series. Josh Reddick got an RBI in the third with a single that scored Justin Turner, but that was all the scoring the Dodgers could muster in game two, despite all the opportunities to do more damage, especially to the Nats’ starting pitcher Tanner Roark.

Today’s game, which begins at 1:08 p.m., will have left-hander Gio Gonzalez taking the mound for the Nationals and right-hander Kenta Maeda for the Dodgers. Los Angeles has had trouble with left-handed pitchers all season and Gonzalez has a 3-1 record against the Dodgers.

Kenta Maeda during Spring Training
Kenta Maeda during Spring Training

Last week Maeda had a tough outing against the San Francisco Giants — who could be eliminated from the playoffs today by the Chicago Cubs — but the team expects him to be back to his mid-season form. Kenta finished the season 16-11 with an ERA of 3.48. His ERA is much lower at Dodger Stadium. This will be his first outing against the Nationals.

Claudia Gestro interviewed Maeda during Spring Training and Corey Seager during the All-Star Weekend, plus a Tony Gwynn Tribute video that features Daniel Murphy and Corey Seager. Both are below.

Photos and videos by Claudia Gestro