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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
Nats
 (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

NATS 

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

DODGERS

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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Andy Martino of SNY refutes the reports that the Nats are out on Harper

Andy Martino of SNY refutes the reports that the Nats are out on Harper

Despite Mark Lerner's comments to NBC Sports Washington that the team hasn't been in recent contact with Bryce Harper and has filled out the roster, SNY's Andy Martino says not to give up hope.


"Do not believe that the Nationals are out on Harper," Martino said. "People I talk to around the situation are saying don't rule the Nationals out until the moment that Harper signs elsewhere."


Martino believes that the clearest options may not be what they seem.


"The Phillies of course are pursuing him, but I continue to hear they have a tough road to get Harper to come to Philly," he said. "The Phillies are possible but I don’t know that I would call them frontrunners."

After the news of Manny Machado signing with the Padres, all eyes turn to Bryce Harper and how long this continues to drag out. 

The clock is ticking.

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How to watch NBC Sports Washington's full interview with Nationals owner Mark Lerner

How to watch NBC Sports Washington's full interview with Nationals owner Mark Lerner

When Nationals principal managing owner Mark Lerner  see his team lose, he has a postgame ritual that rivals one of the most ordinary passionate fan.

“ I go into a closet and scream a little after,” Lerner told NBC Sports Washington's Todd Dybas in an exclusive interview in West Palm Beach, Fla. on Friday. “No, no. That’s one thing that’s good about baseball. You’re going to play the next day. But I go home. I’m totally depressed. I won’t turn on the sports news or anything and get up the next morning, it’s a new day, get up and go after it again today. When I’m sitting down there, I’m very passionate as a fan. I’m yelling at the umpires like everybody else. I want to win. I hate losing exhibition games let alone regular-season games.”

Lerner also spoke about Bryce Harper's future - or lack thereof - with the team, Anthony Rendon and what he expects from the team this season.

The interview is now available in full on the MyTeams app, which can be downloaded here.

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