Here we go again

The last time the Dodgers and Nationals met in the postseason was the classic 2016 NLDS when the Dodgers had to win games four and five or face elimination. They won both, but game five didn’t come easy and is probably one of the best NLDS games in Dodger history.

In 2016 the Dodgers turned to their ace Clayton Kershaw for game one. This year, Dave Roberts could have gone with Ryu who won the NL ERA title and was pitching lights out his last few starts of 2019, they could have gone with Clayton Kershaw, the most consistent of the three starters, but they have gone with Walker Buehler and with good reason. Walker wasn’t as consistent as either Ryu or Kershaw but when he’s on, he’s the Dodgers best pitcher. The Dodger rotation had eight games with a game score of 80 or better and Walker had four of them.

Player                  Date Opp  Rslt  IP H ER BB SO GSc
Walker Buehler    2019-06-21 COL W 4-2 9.0 3  2  0 16  89
Walker Buehler    2019-08-03 SDP W 4-1 9.0 5  1  0 15  88
Hyun-Jin Ryu      2019-05-12 WSN W 6-0 8.0 1  0  1  9  88
Walker Buehler    2019-06-03 ARI W 3-1 8.0 2  1  0 11  85
Hyun-Jin Ryu      2019-05-07 ATL W 9-0 9.0 4  0  0  6  85
Clayton Kershaw   2019-08-14 MIA W 9-1 7.0 2  0  0 10  83
Kenta Maeda       2019-05-15 SDP W 2-0 6.2 3  0  0 12  80
Walker Buehler    2019-09-10 BAL W 7-3 7.0 4  0  0 11  80

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 10/3/2019.

In 2016 the Dodgers gave at-bats to Adrian Gonzalez, Yazmani Grandal, Chase Utley, Josh Reddick, Howie Kendrick, Andrew Toles, Yasiel Puig, and Carlos Ruiz. As a group, they had a terrible series with only Howie doing any actual hitting.

The Dodgers basically won the series on the hitting of Joc Pederson and Justin Turner.  Seager was horrible, Gonzales was horrible, Grandal was horrible, Reddick was horrible. Puig only got five at-bats and went hitless.

Of that horrible performance group, only Seager is still on the team.

Gonzalez has been replaced with Max Muncy

Grandal has been replaced with Will Smith

Josh Reddick / Puig have basically been replaced by 2019 future MVP Cody Bellinger

AJ Pollock is here

2016 NLDS Offensive Stats:

                    Play Play Play Play Play Play Play  Play  Play Regu
Name                  AB    H   2B   HR  RBI   BA  OBP   SLG   OPS  OPS
Corey Seager          23    3    1    2    3 .130 .130  .435  .565 .877
Adrian Gonzalez       20    4    0    1    2 .200 .238  .350  .588 .784
Yasmani Grandal       16    2    0    0    0 .125 .263  .125  .388 .816
Chase Utley           16    3    0    0    2 .188 .278  .188  .465 .716
Joc Pederson          15    5    1    1    3 .333 .444  .600 1.044 .847
Josh Reddick          15    4    0    0    1 .267 .313  .267  .579 .749
Justin Turner         15    6    0    1    5 .400 .591  .733 1.324 .832
Howie Kendrick         9    3    1    0    0 .333 .400  .444  .844 .691
Andrew Toles           9    2    0    0    0 .222 .364  .222  .586 .870
Charlie Culberson      7    0    0    0    0 .000 .000  .000  .000 .697
Yasiel Puig            5    0    0    0    0 .000 .375  .000  .375 .740
Carlos Ruiz            4    2    0    1    3 .500 .500 1.250 1.750 .713

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/3/2019.

You could make a case that the 2019 Dodgers are better at every position than the 2016 team that beat the Nationals. The bench certainly is. David Freese, Chris Taylor, Russell Martin, Matt Beaty, and Kikè.

In 2016 none of the starters had a particularly good series. Kershaw had a great game one but once again ran into trouble in the 7th inning of game four. Joe Blanton and Pedro Baez were the stars out of the bullpen. Kenley had moments but also didn’t have moments.

The starters were Kershaw / Hill / Kenta / Kershaw / Hill

I have to think that Buehler / Ryu / Kershaw / Hill / Buehler is going to trump that.

The 2019 bullpen will have Kenta Maeda, Joe Kelly, Adam Kolarek, and Dustin May along with the holdovers of Kenley Jansen, Pedro Baez, and Julio Urias.

They could be formibile, they certainly seem better than the 2016 bullpen.

2016 NLDS Pitching Stats:

                   Play Play Play Play Play Play Play Play Play  Play
Name                ERA    W    L   SV   IP    H   ER   BB   SO  WHIP
Clayton Kershaw    5.84    1    0    1 12.1   15    8    3   19 1.459
Rich Hill          6.43    0    1    0  7.0    9    5    4   13 1.857
Kenley Jansen      6.75    0    0    2  5.1    4    4    5    9 1.688
Joe Blanton        0.00    1    0    0  5.0    1    0    1    5 0.400
Pedro Baez         0.00    0    0    0  3.2    0    0    2    1 0.545
Kenta Maeda       12.00    0    1    0  3.0    5    4    2    4 2.333
Julio Urias        0.00    1    0    0  2.0    1    0    2    1 1.500
Grant Dayton      16.20    0    0    0  1.2    5    3    2    4 4.200
Ross Stripling     0.00    0    0    0  1.2    0    0    0    2 0.000
Luis Avilan        0.00    0    0    0  1.1    2    0    0    2 1.500
Josh Fields        0.00    0    0    0  1.0    0    0    1    3 1.000
Totals             4.91    3    2    3 44.0   42   24   22   63 1.455

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/3/2019.

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