Playoff Reset: Dodgers vs. Nationals NLDS Game 2
The Game: Los Angeles Dodgers @ Washington Nationals, NLDS Game 2
The Time: 4:00 PM EDT
The Place: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
The Channel: FS1
The Starters: Rich Hill (Dodgers) vs. Tanner Roark (Nationals)
Veteran left-hander Rich Hill (12-5, 2.12 ERA) will take the mound for the Dodgers on the heels of a sub-par performance by ace Clayton Kershaw. Hill only made it through six major league starts in Los Angeles, but the little the Dodgers saw of him was more than enough to make a strong recommendation for the postseason. He carried a 1.83 ERA through 34 1/3 innings, seven of which formed the basis of the first perfect game bid of his career. The only foreseeable setback? A troublesome blister on Hill’s pitching hand, which reduced his workload toward the end of the regular season and could possibly curb his efforts to go the distance in Game 2 and boost the Dodgers to a 2-0 lead.
Opposite Hill, the Nationals will turn to right-hander Tanner Roark (16-10, 2.83) in the 30-year-old’s first postseason start. Roark blossomed out of the rotation in 2016, nearly halving his 2015 ERA of 4.38 and logging over 200 innings for the first time in his career. His 2.83 ERA was the sixth-lowest among major league starters in 2016, though, if we learned anything from Game 1, it’s that pitching credentials take a backseat to the various ways Corey Seager and Justin Turner can destroy baseballs.
Speaking of the Dodgers’ offense, they found themselves neck-and-neck with the Nationals on Friday night, the difference-maker a two-run shot by Turner in the third inning. Where the Dodgers leaned on the long ball, however, the Nationals opted for a more aggressive approach, taking long at-bats against Kershaw and nabbing a pair of stolen bases to bring themselves within a run of tying the game. Assuming they approach Game 2 with the same tactics and manage to get rookie sensation Trea Turner on base this time, they should stand a fair chance of overpowering Hill and evening the series.