The Nationals move on to the NLCS and the Dodgers start the off-season early

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It was the kind of end to the season the Dodgers and their fans haven’t seen since 2015. This year the Dodgers didn’t even make it to the National League Championship Series, let alone the World Series.

Dodgers First Baseman Max Muncy

Manager Dave Roberts almost looked stunned in the postgame press conference after the Game 5 loss. Pitcher Clayton Kershaw, who went into the game as a reliever in the 7th, then gave up back-to-back homeruns in the 8th, blamed himself for the team losing the game and the series. The Dodgers were leading the game, 3-1 when Kershaw gave up the solo homers.

Slugger Max Muncy reminded reporters it was a team loss, that the team wasted chances to put more runs on the board during that game and the other two losses in the series.

The big winner of the night was former Dodger Howie Kendrick who hit the grand slam homer in the 10th off reliever Joe Kelly, the hit that won the game for the Washington Nationals.

The Washington pitchers stymied the Dodger bats for most of the series. Outfielder Cody Bellinger, who finished the season with a batting average of .305, with 47 home runs, 170 hits and 115 RBI, barely put a ball in play. He had four hits and zero RBI. Shortstop Corey Seager had 3 hits and zero RBI in the series.

Nationals infielder Asdrúbal Cabrera

Max Muncy, Joc Pederson, Kiké Hernandez and Justin Turner were bright spots in the lineup. And catcher Russell Martin started one game, getting two hits, one of them a home run, for a total four RBI. His fellow catcher, Will Smith, who started four games, had just one hit. You can argue that the position of catcher is more about the defense and handling the pitching, but Russell Martin, a veteran with over a decade of experience behind the dish, was also putting runs on the board. It’s easy to second guess managers after they lose games, especially big games like Game 5 of the NLDS. But Roberts will tell you he and the management, i.e. President and GM Andrew Friedman, made what they considered the best decisions.

The starting pitchers did good to very good, with Walker Buehler establishing himself. As the team’s number one starter. Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Rich Hill got knocked around a little. In Game 4, Hill only gave up one run. Three other pitchers game up a total of five runs.

Nationals Pitcher Max Scherzer

For the Nationals, their three top starters, Patrick Corbin, Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer did their jobs to keep the Dodgers from scoring runs. He did give up six runs when he came into Game 3 in relief. Strasburg gave up four runs in the series, in two games he started and Washington won. Scherzer gave up just one runs to the Dodgers.

Then there is the Washington lineup. Especially Howie Kendrick, who made terrible errors playing first base. Anthony Rendon, Ryan Zimmerman and Juan Soto led their team to the win.

They are in St. Louis now, taking on the Cardinals in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series. If the Nationals were able to beat the Dodgers, they should be able to defeat the Cards.

Below are Claudia Gestro’s reports from the NLCS.

Photos by Claudia Gestro
Top photo: Nationals pitcher Patrick Corbin