A winner-take-all Game 5 decided the 2019 NLDS between the Dodgers and the Nationals for the right to face the Cardinals, who won a Game 5 of their own against the Braves hours earlier.
The Dodgers did not win.
Walker Buehler took the ball in yet another decisive game, and he delivered once again. He cruised through the 1st with a 1-2-3 inning and set the tone for the night.
Stephen Strasburg looked invincible against the Dodgers in Dodger Stadium last time, but that didn’t last long. Joc Pederson started the game off strong for the offense, doubling off the wall in left on a rather bizarre play where the ball was hit into the bullpen door for a dead ball.
Thankfully, Max Muncy ensured it wouldn’t matter much with his third dong of the series, a rain-making two-run blast to right.
The bats weren’t necessarily done in the 1st either. Justin Turner drew a walk, and later with one down Matt Beaty singled up the middle to setup another scoring chance. However, Corey Seager continued his disaster of a series by grounding into a double play to end the threat.
While Enrique Hernandez getting the start was controversial when the lineups were announced, he then made that irrelevant, jumping on a fastball to lead off the 2nd for another towering shot just over the wall in center to make it 3-0.
In the 3rd and with one down, Cody Bellinger started a rally by himself. He reached on Howie Kendrick‘s third error of the series (thanks!) and then promptly stole second base. He eventually moved to third on a Beaty grounder, but Seager again failed to cash in a runner with a strikeout.
Meanwhile, Buehler allowed just a single in the 2nd and a walk to the pitcher in the 3rd. At that point it was quite clear he didn’t have his best stuff or command, but he was battling nonetheless and was still keeping the Nats scoreless.
The 4th would’ve been an easy 1-2-3 affair if it wasn’t for an error on Seager, who was having himself a nightmare. On a ball hit to short left, Enrique likely should’ve called him off, but Corey got under it and just didn’t squeeze it for a two-base boner. That was the first runner to reach second on Buehler and he made sure he didn’t get any further.
Buehler started to show signs of faltering in the 5th, allowing a walk and a single to start before getting a pair of strikeouts and a fly out to escape. The dam finally broke in the 6th after he allowed a double to Anthony Rendon to start and Juan Soto then singled to make it 3-1. However, he escaped again by getting a double play and strikeout.
In the Dodgers half of the 6th, they missed another chance. Bellinger led off with a single and then stole second again, but Beaty, Seager, and Hernandez all struck out.
Seemed like a common sense thing with Buehler at 97 pitches to take him out with Kenta Maeda ready, but Dave Roberts let Buehler roll. He responded by hitting a batter, but he rebounded with a strikeout and a line out, though he eventually walked another and that was it for him. Buehler went 6.2 innings, giving up just the one run on four hits and three walks, striking out seven.
The reason it was only one run of course, is because Clayton Kershaw came in and shut the door in the 7th.
Of course, glad it worked, but Kenta and Adam Kolarek felt like the right move in that inning as they have been dominant against the Nats while Kershaw is in an unfamiliar role (though he’s done it before) and is not the same pitcher anymore.
That feeling proved prophetic as Kershaw was left in the game and gave up back-to-back dongs to Rendon and Soto to tie it at 3-3.
Maeda then came in and struck out three in a row, because of course he did.
The Dodgers could not get anything going at all, and so we moved on to the 9th with Joe Kelly, yes Joe Kelly. Well, he took care of any anxiety by getting two strikeouts and a pop fly to get the Dodgers a chance to walk it off.
Hernandez got a hit to start the 9th and Will Smith almost seemed to hit a walk-off, but it ended up just short.
Kelly was allowed to get a second inning and it went about how his second innings usually did this season. He did what you’d expect in that situation while Roberts sat there the whole time doing nothing.
A quick summary analyzing this disastrous sequence from Dave.
Honestly don’t know what to say.
Brutal, just brutal.