- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 11, 2016

LOS ANGELES — Nothing has gone as scheduled for the National League Division Series between the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers. Game 2 was rained out, shifting the entire schedule. Then, Monday night, Tuesday’s start time was in limbo until midnight Pacific because the Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants needed 13 innings to decide Game 3 of their series.

Nationals manager Dusty Baker went to sleep after the Cubs’ Kris Bryant tied the game with a two-run home run in the ninth. Baker found out that the Nationals would be playing at 2 p.m. Pacific instead of 5 p.m. because the Giants had won, when he checked his phone during a mid-sleep bathroom run.

By then, the Nationals, who lead the Dodgers 2-1 in the best-of-five series, had decided on Joe Ross as their Game 4 starting pitcher. Ross last pitched Sept. 29 when he went four innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks. He threw 90 pitches in that outing. Ross did not pitch in the major leagues between July 2 and Sept. 18 because of right shoulder inflammation.

“I don’t know, I’m just looking for a performance,” Baker said, when asked about how far Ross could go in the game. “Just give us all of what you’ve got, and then we’ll take it from there.”

The Nationals were choosing between Ross and rookie Reynaldo Lopez. Lopez has been effective against left-handed hitting, which the Dodgers are loaded with, holding them to just a .193 batting average. But, Lopez was also knocked around by the Dodgers in his MLB debut. In 4 2/3 innings, he allowed six earned runs. He has also been shelled by right-handed hitters.

Left-handed hitters have a .317 average against Ross this season. Last season, they hit .277 against him, which was .104 points higher than right-handed hitters. Los Angeles has eight players who can hit left-handed in their lineup Tuesday.

Lopez will be prepared to fill the middle innings, if necessary, Baker said.

The Dodgers are countering with Clayton Kershaw on short rest. The Nationals hit Kershaw hard in Game 1. He allowed eight hits in four innings after a 1-2-3 first inning. The Nationals came away from the game feeling they should have beaten Kershaw and scored more than three runs against him.

The Dodgers are unsure who would pitch Game 5 for them, should there be one Thursday in Washington. The Nationals would go with ace Max Scherzer.

Lineups:

Nationals

Turner CF

Harper RF

Werth LF

Murphy 2B

Rendon 3B

Zimmerman 1B

Espinosa SS

Severino C

Ross P

Dodgers

Utley 2B

Seager SS

Turner 3B

González 1B

Reddick RF

Pederson CF

Grandal C

Toles LF

Kershaw P

 

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