By Will Beverina
- Trea Turner CF
- Jayson Werth LF
- Daniel Murphy 2B
- Bryce Harper RF
- Anthony Rendon 3B
- Ryan Zimmerman 1B
- Danny Espinosa SS
- Jose Lobaton C
- Gio Gonzalez P
With the Washington Nationals’ win on Sunday, their National League Division Series tie up with the Los Angeles Dodgers has turned into a virtual best-of-3 contest. Now standing at 1-1, the series shifts to the west coast where the Dodgers have home field advantage for the rest of the round.
One of the most crucial matchups of game three will be Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez versus the Dodgers lineup. Gio’s numbers have steadily declined since his first year in Washington in 2012—an all-star season where he finished third in Cy Young voting—and he finished his 2016 campaign with a 4.57 ERA and a career-high 19 home runs allowed.
But the left-handed heavy lineup of Los Angeles has had historic struggles against left-handed pitchers this season with a .221/.299/.345 against all lefties this year, which is good news for the southpaw Gonzalez. Though he may be past his prime, don’t be surprised if Gio earns himself a quality start today.
On the opposite end is Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda. The 28-year-old rookie from Japan has had a quality year after signing an 8-year deal with Los Angeles in the offseason, with a 16-11 record and 3.48 ERA. Maeda actually plays better at Dodger Stadium than on the road, a welcome fact for Los Angeles playing in the confines of their own home for now. The only question is whether Maeda can keep up his form in the postseason.
The Nationals have shifted their lineup slightly in anticipation of the right-hander Maeda. Jayson Werth has been moved up to 2nd, while Daniel Murphy will bat 3rd with Bryce Harper in cleanup. All other spots remain the same. The change resembles one of the most common lineups of the regular season for Washington.
First pitch from Dodger Stadium will be at 4:08 p.m.