Major League Baseball’s postseason is finally upon us, and stop us if you’ve heard this one before, but the Dodgers will begin their quest to appear in a third straight World Series when they take on the Washington Nationals at Chavez Ravine tonight in Game 1 of the National League Division Series.
The Dodgers finished the regular season with a National League-best record of 106-56 in the NL West while the Nats compiled a 93-69 record in the NL East, good enough for a Wild Card berth, and then knocked off the Milwaukee Brewers in the Wild Card Game on Tuesday night in an exciting comeback victory. It’ll be a five game series to get started, and if the Boys of Summer can secure the three wins needed to end the series, they’ll head on to the National League Championship Series (again) to face the winner of the other Division Series between the Atlanta Braves and the St. Louis Cardinals. The pressure is on for both teams this postseason. The Dodgers are hoping to end a 31 year championship drought by making it to their third straight Fall Classic. Meanwhile, the Nationals haven’t won a postseason series since the franchise’s move to D.C. in 2005.
25-year-old fireballer Walker Buehler takes the mound for the Dodgers in what will be only his fifth career postseason start, while Washington sends journeyman Patrick Corbin to the hill for his first career playoff start. The Dodgers expect to have have third baseman Justin Turner back as well as the always dangerous reliever Joe Kelly available for Game 1. Both have been dealing with injury. All eyes will likely be on Dodgers slugger and Swiss Army knife, Cody Bellinger, who led the team in home runs (47) batting average (.305) and RBIs (115) during the regular season.
Who will win? Who will lose? Who will sing the blues? Larry Mantle talks with L.A. Times baseball writer Bill Shaikin about the big storylines for the series, the players to watch, and who they think will come out on top.