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Gio Gonzalez faces Dodgers as Nats aim for lead in NLDS

Gio Gonzalez faces Dodgers as Nats aim for lead in NLDS

Game 3 of the NL Division Series
 (1-1) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (1-1) at Dodger Stadium

The Nationals broke out offensively to take Game 2 behind Jose Lobaton's huge three-run homer. Now both teams pick back up for Game 3 in Los Angeles after a quick turnaround and a long flight across the country.

The Nats aim to take a series lead with lefty Gio Gonzalez (11-11, 4.57) on the mound. Gonzalez flew to L.A. early, before the rest of the Naitonals, so the travel shouldn't affect him as much as others.

Gonzalez, though, will look to bounce back from a rough start his last time out. He lasted only 3 2/3 innings on 100 pitches against the Diamondbacks on Sept. 28. 

Gonzalez does have a strong history against the Dodgers working in his favor. He has a 1.69 ERA across 32 innings since he joined the Nationals before the 2012 season. And this year he was the only Nats pitcher to beat L.A. during the regular season with six innings of one-run ball on July 20.

Pitching for the Dodgers will be rookie Kenta Maeda (16-11, 3.48). The Nationals will be seeing him for the first time, which could present a challenge.

Washington's lineup has a few changes in it for Game 3. Bryce Harper has been dropped down to the cleanup spot with Jayson Werth back in the two-hole. Manager Dusty Baker has made an adjustment now that the Dodgers are starting a right-hander.

First pitch: 4:08 p.m.
TV: MLB Network (free preview*)
Radio: 106.7 The Fan, ESPN
Starting pitchers: Nats - Gio Gonzalez vs. Dodgers - Kenta Maeda


CF Trea Turner
LF Jayson Werth
2B Daniel Murphy
RF Bryce Harper
3B Anthony Rendon
1B Ryan Zimmerman
SS Danny Espinosa
C Jose Lobaton
LHP Gio Gonzalez


LF Howie Kendrick
3B Justin Turner
SS Corey Seager
RF Yasiel Puig
1B Adrian Gonzalez
C Yasmani Grandal
2B Charlie Culberson
CF Joc Pederson
RHP Kenta Maeda

*MLB Network has a free preview for customers using these providers: AT&T U-verse, Cablevision, Comcast XFINITY, Cox, DIRECTV, DISH Network, Frontier, RCN and Verizon FiOS through Tuesday.

[RELATED: Ramos' first pitch provides special moment for Nats]

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Bryce Harper thanks Nationals fans for support during 2017 season


Bryce Harper thanks Nationals fans for support during 2017 season

It's been a week since the air was sucked out of D.C. in the Nationals Game 5, 9-8 loss to the Chicago Cubs. 

And now that we've had a few days to decompress from another early D.C. playoff exit, Nats right fielder Bryce Harper decided to take some time to thank fans for their support this season.

Harper posted an Instagram video Wednesday afternoon, with a fresh cut, and thanked fans for continuing to pack Nats Park. In the video he says he looks forward to "chasing that championship" again next spring. 

The 2017 season could be described as a rough one for Harper after missing the last few weeks of the season with a bone bruise in his left knee. 

Harper had a .319 average during the 2017 season, along with 29 home runs, 97 RBI's, 95 runs scored and 4 stolen bases. He is entering the final year of his contract.


National Fans. Thank you!💯 #RedLightRecording

A post shared by Bryce Harper (@bharper3407) on

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Nationals Game 5 meltdown yet another reminder why D.C. can't have nice things

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Nationals Game 5 meltdown yet another reminder why D.C. can't have nice things

On Thursday night, a Washington, D.C. pro sports team did something Washington, D.C. pro sports teams are very good at doing: fall short of making a league or championship game.

The Nationals' disastrous fifth inning against the Cubs in Game 5 of the National League Divisional Series was the beginning of the end, not to mention yet another in a long line of disappointing playoff results for Washington, D.C. sports teams.

You see, Washington, D.C. is the only city with at least three major pro sports teams to not have a single one make a conference or league championship game since 2000.

To make matters worse, Washington, D.C. sports teams have now lost 16 consecutive playoff games in which a win would've advanced the team to the conference or league championship. 

Think about that for a second. Four teams. Zero conference championship appearances since 1998. 

Here's the list.

Washington, D.C. sports fans are not greedy. We can't be. We've had some very good teams recently, with the type of talent, coaching and intangibles needed to win a championship. 


The last time a major Washington, D.C. pro sports team won a world championship was in 1992 when the Redskins won Super Bowl XXVI.  The last time a major Washington, D.C. pro sports team even made a conference championship game was in 1998, when the Capitals advanced to the Eastern Conference Final, defeating the Sabres to advance to the Stanley Cup Final.

Washington, D.C. isn't allowed to have nice sports things.

Sure, we have great players and great teams, but when the playoffs roll around, all the nice things go away. We aren't privy to plucky upstarts who run the table and we aren't privy to dominant teams that make long postseason runs.

Washington, D.C. will have its day, eventually. Sure it may only be a conference championship appearance, but for us, that's fine. We don't expect world championships. We just want something to get invested in.

Early playoff exits are rarely worth the investment.