The Nationals have never advanced to the National League Championship Series since moving from Montreal. But the Nats can accomplish that on Thursday night in the only winner-take- all game of the Division Series round as they host the Dodgers. MLB odds favor the Nats.
How To Bet on the LA Dodgers vs Washington NLDS Game 5 Expert Pick, Odds & TV Info
When: Thursday, Oct. 13, 8 PM ET
Where: Nationals Park, Washington D.C.
Probable pitchers (away/home): Rich Hill/Max Scherzer
TV: Fox Sports 1
Stream: Fox Sports Go
Radio: Los Angeles / Washington
Opening MLB Lines: Nationals -148, Dodgers +138 (7)
Why Bet on Los Angeles?
The Dodgers decided to start ace Clayton Kershaw on short rest in Game 4 and while he didn’t get a decision, L.A. stayed alive with a 6-5 win. Chase Utley singled home the tiebreaking run with two outs in the eighth inning. The score was tied 5-all with two outs in the eighth when Andrew Toles got hit by a pitch from loser Blake Treinen. Andre Ethier followed with a single to left and Utley singled to right, scoring Toles from second for a 6-5 lead. Kenley Jansen worked the ninth for a save, one day after giving up four late runs during Los Angeles’ loss in Game 3.
When Kershaw was on the mound for 6 2/3 innings, the Nationals scored twice and the Dodgers had a three-run lead. But just like that after he went to the bench, leaving the bases loaded, the Nationals had scored three more times, all on Kershaw’s pitching line. Kershaw’s ERA in two 2016 NLDS games is 6.17 and his ERA in 15 postseason appearances is 4.83.
So the team goes with lefty Rich Hill here. He finished the regular season with a 12-5 record and a 2.12 ERA (28 ER/149.0 IP) and held the opposition to a .195/.269/.261 line in 20 starts with the Athletics and the Dodgers. Hill struck out 129 batters against 33 walks, posting a 10.52 strikeout per nine innings. In five starts since joining the Dodgers, went 3-2 with a 1.83 ERA (7 ER/34.1 IP) and a 0.79 WHIP. He limited the opposition to a .182 average (22-for- 121) and struck out 39 batters against five walks. In 10 starts on the road this season, he went 8-1 with a 1.89 ERA (13 ER/62.0 IP) and limited the opposition to a .179 average.
Hill will be working on short rest for just the second time in his career. He did it once early in his career during the regular season with the Chicago Cubs. But he does have relief experience, so coming back early is not entirely foreign. Hill took the loss in Game 2 at Washington in allowing four runs over 4.1 innings.
Why Bet on Washington?
The Nationals could have ended things in Game 4 in Los Angeles on Tuesday but ruined that nice comeback. The Dodgers have struggled vs. left-handed pitching all season, so the fact that Nats manager Dusty Baker only got seven outs from his southpaw relievers in the Nats’ Game 4 loss deserves questioning. Baker has now lost eight straight games with a chance to clinch a series, which broke a dubious record he shared with Bill Virdon. The most recent clinching game Baker won was Game 5 of the 2003 division series, in which the Cubs beat the Braves. Before that, the Cubs had lost Game 4 with a chance to clinch, and Baker&’s Giants lost Games 6 and 7 of the 2002 World Series. That’s 1-11 in his past 12 games with a chance to win a series.
Baker could have used ace Max Scherzer in Game 4 but saved the likely Cy Young winner for Game 5. He lost Game 1, allowing four runs and five hits over six innings but was 20-7 with a 2.96 ERA during the regular season. Scherzer will be pitching on an extra day of rest. This will be his 12th postseason start, but he has never started in the fifth or seventh game of a series.
“Biggest start of my life,” Scherzer said after Game 4. “I”ve said that a handful of times throughout my career. How you handle that, going out there and using the emotion of that scenario, that everything’s on the line, and look — I’m not gonna shy away from it: This is the biggest start of my career.”
Since joining the Nationals, the nine-year veteran has allowed 1.14 home runs per nine innings pitched — a rate significantly higher than with either of his two previous teams, the Arizona Diamondbacks (0.80 HR/9) and Detroit Tigers (0.96 HR/9). During the 2016 regular season he allowed 1.22 home runs per nine innings — his highest rate since 2011.
My Expert Prediction
Go Nationals at home in MLB odds and under that total.