It's finally here. The 2019 NLDS matchup between the Nationals and Dodgers gets underway Thursday night with Patrick Corbin taking the mound to face Walker Buehler in Los Angeles.
For Corbin, of course, this game and series is the reason the Nationals brought him into the fold. For the Nationals, this is the second time in four seasons they'll meet the Dodgers in the NLDS. Last time, in 2016, the Dodgers won Game 5 in Nationals Park, 4-3, after the Nationals had a two-games-to-one lead entering Game 4.
There's plenty of buzz about the Nationals being the team that best matches up with the Dodgers. As it stands, the Dodgers are the biggest obstacle standing between the Nationals and a World Series appearance. The teams played the seven-game regular-season series about as evenly as possible, with the Dodgers edging the Nationals for a 4-3 lead.
Here's how each of those games played out:
1. Game 37: Washington (15-22) at Los Angeles (25-15). Friday, May 10
Result: Nationals win, 6-0
Season series: Nationals lead 1-0
How it Happened: Corbin validated the Nationals' decision to sign him. He pitched seven shutout innings, striking out eight. Howie Kendrick jumped on Rich Hill early, blasting a 3-run homer in the first, then Washington tacked on three late insurance runs.
2. Game 38: Washington (15-23) at Los Angeles (26-15). Saturday, May 11
Result: Dodgers win, 5-0
Season series: Tied, 1-1
How it Happened: Joc Pederson hit a pair of solo home runs, one in the first and one in the fifth. Kenta Maeda tossed six scoreless innings as the Dodgers offense tagged Anibal Sanchez for three runs in 4.1 innings.
3. Game 39: Washington (16-23) at Los Angeles (26-16). Sunday, May 12
Result: Nationals win, 5-2
Season series: Nationals lead, 2-1
How it Happened: Justin Turner hit a two-run homer off Max Scherzer in the third inning, which was the game's only score entering the eighth inning. The Nationals loaded the bases before Juan Soto's single brought them within one. Then Gerardo Parra sent a blast to deep right-center, a grand slam that put the Nationals up, 5-2, the game's final score. Scherzer struck out seven in seven innings.
4. Game 40: Washington (16-24) at Los Angeles (27-16). Monday, May 13
Result: Dodgers win, 6-0
Season series: Tied, 2-2
How it Happened: Hyun-Jin Ryu took a no-hitter into the eighth inning and the bullpen helped blank the Nationals to split the four-game set. Strasburg only allowed two runs in six innings, and the game was within reach when Ryu's no-hitter was broken up. The Nationals didn't score, though, and Corey Seager's grand slam in the bottom of the eighth put the game out of reach. It was the third shutout of the four-game series.
5. Game 103: Los Angeles (68-37) at Washington (55-48). Saturday, July 27
Result: Dodgers win, 4-2
Season series: Dodgers lead, 3-2
How it Happened: The Dodgers got to Sanchez early again, scoring one in the top of the first. The Nationals tied the game in the bottom of the seventh, as Victor Robles scored on an Adam Eaton single. Parra, the would-be go-ahead run, was thrown out at the plate. Turner hit a three-run homer in the top of the eighth to put the Dodgers back on top. One run in the bottom of the ninth wasn't enough for the Nationals.
6. Game 104: Los Angeles (69-37) at Washington (55-49). Sunday, July 28
Result: Dodgers win, 9-3
Season series: Dodgers lead, 4-2
How it Happened: Dodgers rookie catcher had a home run and six RBI on a 3-for-3 day at the play. That was more than enough to take down the Nationals, who could only muster three runs against Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles bullpen.
7. Game 105: Los Angeles (69-38) at Washington (56-49). Monday, July 29
Result: Nationals win, 11-4
Season series: Dodgers lead, 4-3
How it Happened: Strasburg racked up his then-MLB-leading 14th win with a seven-inning, nine-strikeout performance. He didn't walk a batter and allowed just one run on the day. The Dodgers led after the top of the fifth, but three runs from the Nats in the bottom of the fifth and then four each in the sixth and eighth was too much for the Dodgers.
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