The Division Series clash between the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers is the only one from either league to go the distance. That’s not much of a surprise given how evenly matched the clubs were coming into the postseason.

Now it comes down to a single game to determine which team will keep its World Series hopes alive. The visiting Dodgers are set to send Rich Hill (12-5, 2.12 ERA) to the mound to take on Nationals ace Max Scherzer (20-7, 2.96 ERA) in Thursday’s series finale.

So let’s check out all of the important details for Game 5, followed by a game preview and a prediction for which side will advance to face the rested and favored Chicago Cubs in the NLCS.



Game 5 Viewing Information


Where: Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.

When: Thursday, Oct. 13 at 8 p.m. ET

Watch: Fox Sports 1

Live Stream: Fox Sports Go



Game Preview


As expected, it’s been a hard-fought series. Two games were decided by one run and the only lopsided result was an 8-3 victory for the Nationals in Game 3, which was actually a one-run contest heading into the ninth before Washington tacked on four insurance runs.

Game 5 should be more of the same.

The Nationals decided to start Joe Ross in Game 4 and keep Scherzer available for the decider or Game 1 of the NLCS. The Dodgers opted to bring Clayton Kershaw back on short rest with their backs against the wall, and while he didn’t pitch great, they survived to fight another day.

Scherzer gives Washington the pitching advantage Thursday night, but not by a significant margin. Hill battled through some blister issues that limited him to 20 starts, but his late-career renaissance continued when healthy with a 2.12 ERA and 129 strikeouts in 110.1 innings.

The Nationals’ No. 1 starter is one of the best pitchers in baseball, though. This season marked the third time in the past four years he’s finished the regular season with a sub-3.00 ERA, and his electric arm has resulted in a terrific strikeout rate of 9.98 per nine innings for his career.

Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post noted Scherzer hasn’t attempted to downplay the significance of the Game 5 start, either.

“This is probably the biggest start of my career,” he said. “Biggest start of my life.”

A pair of home runs doomed him in his first start of the series. He gave up four runs in six innings despite allowing just five hits and no walks.

Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez is hopeful the club can scrape together enough runs against him for the second time in the series, per Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times.

“We beat him once already, we know we can do it,” Gonzalez said. “We put some pretty good at-bats against him in Game 1 and I’m confident that we can do it again.”

ESPN Stats & Info noted history also favors Los Angeles in these situations:

All told, this game should feature plenty of drama, regardless of which team is left standing when the dust eventually settles. It’s been an entertaining series between two clubs capable of giving the Cubs a legitimate fight, and the pitching matchup should ensure it ends with one more nail-biter.

The edge goes to the Nationals, though. They are playing at home, have their ace on the mound and had success against Hill earlier in the series with four runs in 4.1 innings. That should be enough to push them into the next round by the slightest of margins.

Prediction: Nationals 3, Dodgers 2


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