One game, for all the marbles and a seven-game date with the Cubs. Washington turns to $210 million ace and former Cy Young winner Max Scherzer. Los Angeles turns to … Rich Hill.

That's not entirely fair, of course. Hill has been amazing since returning to the majors in mid-2015 following a stint playing independent ball–seriously, his path to stardom at age 36 is an incredible story–and his 2.12 ERA this season ranks second among all pitchers with at least 100 innings. He trailed only rotation-mate Clayton Kershaw, whom the Dodgers started in Game 4 on short rest, setting up Hill and his 2.56 DRA to take the mound opposite Scherzer and his 3.01 DRA tonight.

Hill failed to make it out of the fifth inning in his Game 2 start, yielding four runs in a 5-2 loss in Washington, but he did strike out seven of the 22 batters he faced while generating 10 swinging strikes on 82 total pitches. At no point this season has he allowed more than two runs in back-to-back starts. Scherzer also allowed four runs in his previous start this series, taking the Game 1 loss in a matchup against Kershaw while serving up homers to Corey Seager and Justin Turner. This has the potential to be a strikeout-filled pitchers' duel, but as we've seen already this postseason counting on those to materialize doesn't always work out.

Los Angeles Dodgers (Rich Hill) at Washington Nationals (Max Scherzer), 8:00 PM ET

PECOTA odds of winning: 54% Nationals, 46% Dodgers

Projected Starting Lineups

Nationals vs. Hill (L)

Dodgers vs. Scherzer (R)

Trea Turner (R), CF

Chase Utley (L), 2B

Bryce Harper (L), RF

Corey Seager (L), SS

Jayson Werth (R), LF

Justin Turner (R), 3B

Daniel Murphy (L), 2B

Adrian Gonzalez (L), 1B

Anthony Rendon (R), 3B

Josh Reddick (L), RF

Ryan Zimmerman (R), 1B

Joc Pederson (L), CF

Danny Espinosa (S), SS

Yasmani Grandal (S), C

Jose Lobaton (S), C

Andrew Toles (L), LF

Max Scherzer (R), P

Rich Hill (L), P


Wednesday's off day means nearly everyone should be available, save for Game 4 starters Kershaw and Joe Ross.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts chose Hill over rookie Julio Urias to start Game 5, but the 20-year-old phenom figures to play a prominent role out of the bullpen and could be tasked with a starter-like workload if Hill looks shaky early. Kenley Jansen threw just 13 pitches in Game 4, so a multi-inning save isn't out of the question.

Nationals manager Dusty Baker is less likely to have Scherzer on a short leash, but once he does decide to involve the bullpen expect a parade of southpaws in an attempt to neutralize the Dodgers' many left-handed bats. Marc Rzepcynski, Oliver Perez, and Sammy Solis will be doing some heavy lifting bridging the gap from Scherzer to closer Mark Melancon.

Jose Lobaton, who homered off Hill in Game 2, figures to draw the start at catcher over rookie Pedro Severino.


PECOTA sees the Nationals as very slight favorites at home, which makes sense to me.

Hill is seen as less of a sure thing than Scherzer to come through with a strong outing, both because of his arduous path to ace-dom and his Game 2 struggles. However, while Scherzer has a lengthy track record of dominance that includes league-highs in wins (20), innings (228), and strikeouts (284) this season, his extreme splits present a potential issue against the Dodgers. Scherzer was death on righties this year, holding them to a .156 batting average, but lefties hit .242 with 17 homers and a .442 slugging percentage off him. Los Angeles' starting lineup will feature just one right-handed hitter and plenty of left-handed power.

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All lefties for LA + a reversed split righty in Turner.
"nearly everyone should be available, save for Game 4 starters Kershaw and Joe Ross."

Kershaw is a stud.