LEADING OFF: Washington seeks 1st series win since Senators

Dodgers rookie Corey Seager hit a home-run vs the nationals in Game 2 of playoff series

It feels like déjà vu all over again. Washington collected four runs in the third inning alone, two thanks to Anthony Rendon’s first career postseason homer. “We’re one of the game’s best teams the past few years”. On May 15, Odor famously punched Bautista to spark a brawl in Texas, and the broadcast of Sunday’s game showed a fan-made sign declaring “I would rather get punched in May than get knocked out in October”. “We really, really, really needed those runs”. Look for Dodgers manager Dave Roberts to tweak the lineup to add more right handed hitters, such as Yasiel Puig, Howie Kenrick and Carlos Ruiz. The Dodgers were victims of Washington gridlock.

“Nobody in this clubhouse doubts what we’re what capable of”, reliever Andrew Miller said as music blared and corks popped in the visitors’ clubhouse. “It’s luck or whatever it is”. “Afterward, they get the bullpen in there, the shadows start creeping and it gets tougher to hit”.

Danny Espinosa (left) greets Jose Lobaton after the catcher’s three-run home run gave the Nationals the lead in Game 2. In the sixth, Crisp hit a two-run homer over the left-field wall to make it 4-1. “I’ve been taught to stay within myself ever since I was young”.

In Game 1, Seager crushed a first-pitch, 97-mph fastball from Max Scherzer for a solo home run.

The rest of Maeda’s first inning against a team he had never faced was laborious. The Japanese rookie allowed four runs on five hits with two walks and four strikeouts in just three innings.

But the Dodgers lost the next two games, and need two consecutive victories to keep their season alive.

In the regular season, LA’s hitters, as a group, put up a.213/.290/.332 line against left-handed pitchers, good for 15th/15th/15th across the line in the fifteen-team National League. The Dodgers offense stalled and the starting and late inning relief struggled. Murphy drove in another run in the fifth.

But the Dodgers would go 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position Monday, making them 2-for-18 in that situation in the series. Then again, that lone hit was also a homer, and also against the Dodgers – off Scott Kazmir in July.

The franchise has only won one playoff series – the Montreal Expos beat Philadelphia following the strike-shortened 1981 season before losing to the Dodgers in the NL Championship Series. Lefty Gio Gonzalez will start for Washington, while the Dodgers send righty Kenta Maeda to the mound.

The Nationals’ bullpen took over from there. Adrian Gonzalez, Yasmani Grandal, Josh Reddick and Joc Pederson have combined for eight hits in 43 at-bats-none for extra bases. “They haven’t done anything different, they’ve just outplayed us”.

“I’m hoping this is our year”, said Jayson Werth, who doubled in a run in a four-run third inning then homered in a four-run ninth.

“The wind pretty much had an effect on every ball that was hit out there”, Werth said.

The collapse was psychologically capped when Jansen entered a one-run game and gave up four more, retiring just one of his five batters in the ninth.

“I didn’t really think anything of it”, Seager said.

Roberts declined to name a starter for Game 4. Los Angeles used all seven of its relievers in the game. For Tuesday’s game, they are deciding between Julio Urias, the rookie southpaw who was originally slated for Game 4, and three-time Cy Young Award victor Clayton Kershaw. The Nationals missed a chance to pounce, but Maeda needed 28 pitches to get through the inning and the price was soon paid. “But you’re happy about the split on the road to start the series”.

Coco Crisp hit a two-run homer and Allen escaped jams in the eighth and ninth for the AL Central champions.

“With an elimination game, we still have to win two games”, Roberts said after Monday’s defeat. Los Angeles hasn’t been to the World Series since winning the whole thing in 1988.

For Kershaw: If anyone would understand how to pitch on short rest, it’s Kershaw.

So after leaving ’em loaded three times and missing a chance to take a commanding lead over Washington in the NL Division Series, the Dodgers headed home tied at 1-all after a 5-2 loss Sunday.