The Los Angeles Dodgers have had an amazing regular season until their recent downfall. The team’s 15.5 game lead over the Nationals dropped to a 5 game lead due to their 3-16 record since Aug. 26. On the contrary, the Nationals have only been getting stronger. Despite the long list of injured players including Koda Glover, Trea Turner, Jason Werth and Bryce Harper, the team managed to stay afloat by signing two new closing pitchers: Sean Doolittle (3.01 career ERA) and Ryan Madson (3.36 career ERA), as well as signing Howie Kendrick and bringing up players like Wilmer Difo to cover for the missing links. The team didn’t only stay afloat but prospered as they maintained their strong lead over the Marlins in the NL East (today it stands as a 21-game lead).
After recently bringing back a couple of our deeply missed starting players, Jason Werth and Trea Turner, the Nationals clinched their spot in the play-offs after a 3-2 victory over the Phillies last Sunday. Not to mention they clinched this spot earlier than any other team in the past 15 years.
The Dodgers recent downfall has been steep but not surprising. According to one NL scout, the Dodgers had a significant reliance on young players whose holes have been found and older guys who’ve been nicked up. No team would have been able to keep that pace up throughout the entire season. One might think the opposition’s 3-16 record going into D.C. would boost the National’s confidence, but they’d be wrong. “Every team that puts together a major league roster has a chance to win any game we go out there and play. That’s the great thing about baseball. You’re a starting pitcher away from turning around a streak,” says National’s star Matt Wieters.
This is relevant as the Dodger’s were able to cut short their 11-game losing streak with pitcher Clayton Kershaw against the Giants on Tuesday. When asked about how the team felt about the Dodgers misfortune, Howie Kendrick stated, “I focus on how we’re playing.”
The Nationals and the Dodgers currently hold the two highest leads in the MLB. In my personal opinion, these are the two best teams in the league and this series could be a potential preview of this years National League Championship. The outcome may seem like a no brainer at the moment due to the current state of both teams, but the Dodgers are notoriously difficult competition and the Nats are ready to go head to head.