The Los Angeles Dodgers are in a very familiar position after their 6-0 win over the Washington Nationals in Game 1 of the National League Division Series (NLDS).
Los Angeles are out in front 1-0 in the NLDS for the third straight year and fourth time in the past six seasons.
Of the four series the Dodgers started 1-0, they have gone on to win all four. Now the Nationals will have to fight back with Stephen Strasburg in Game 2 on Friday.
Three takeaways from Dodgers' Game 1 NLDS win over Nationals
First-inning nerves cost Patrick Corbin, Nationals
Patrick Corbin's nerves very well may have cost the Nationals Game 1.
Corbin walked four batters and a run in the first inning. He is just the second pitcher in MLB history to walk four batters in the first inning of his first playoff start and the first since Art Reinhart in 1926, according to Stats.
Patrick Corbin is the 2nd pitcher all-time to issue 4 walks in the very 1st inning he ever pitched in the playoffs.— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) October 4, 2019
The other was the Cardinals' Art Reinhart in the 5th inning of Game 4 of the 1926 World Series against the Yankees (2 of his walks were to Babe Ruth & Lou Gehrig).
Corbin not only gave up a run, but he threw 31 pitches which shortened his outing. He was at nearly 100 in the fifth inning. If there is one thing to point to for why the Nationals lost this game, it is easy to pick out Corbin's first inning.
Walker Buehler is the Dodgers' ace
On the other hand, Walker Buehler is the reason the Dodgers won the game.
Buehler was masterful, and nasty, tossing six innings while allowing one hit and no runs in the win for the Dodgers.
It came as a bit of a surprise when Buehler was named the Game 1 starter over names like Clayton Kershaw and Ryu Hyun-jin. But Buehler has been the Dodgers' best pitcher since about the middle of the 2018 season and it has everything to do with his stuff and competitiveness.
Buehler is now only 1-1 in his postseason career, but he has given up just 10 runs in 29.2 innings pitched (3.03 ERA) while striking out 37. And his start in the World Series last year against the best lineup in MLB in the Boston Red Sox was a pure masterpiece.
He was also masterful in Game 1 and is now undoubtedly the Dodgers' best pitcher.
Nationals' hitting woes rear ugly head again
No matter how good the Nationals' pitching staff is, their offense has to be better than it has been since 2014 in the playoffs.
Coming into this series, over the past 15 playoff games the Nationals failed to score more than three runs seven times. Now, over their past 16 games, that number is up to eight.
Washington have tons of talent in their lineup with MVP candidate Anthony Rendon, stud youngster Juan Soto and two very good table-setters in Trea Turner and Adam Eaton, but the Nationals struggle mightily at the plate in the postseason, and through one NLDS game this year, it does not look like they learned much from years past.
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