Nationals Game Notes: October 7 vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (NLDS Game 1)

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Los Angeles Dodgers (91-71) at Washington Nationals (95-67)
LHP Clayton Kershaw [12-4, 1.69] | RHP Max Scherzer [20-7, 2.96]
Friday, October 7 l Game #1 / NLDS l Nationals Park l Washington, D.C. l 5:38 P.M.
Television: FS1 l Radio: 106.7 The Fan & Nationals Radio Network

In the 12th season since baseball returned to Washington, D.C., the Washington Nationals were crowned National League East champions for the third time in the last five years…The 2016 Nationals did so with an average of 15.8 wins per month and a 95-67 (.586) final regular-season record, the second-best mark in the NL (Cubs: 103-58, .640) and tied with the Texas Rangers for the second-best record in Major League Baseball…Since 2012, Washington’s three division titles are tied for the second-most in MLB behind the Los Angeles Dodgers (5).

  • The 2016 Nationals made themselves comfortable in first place, where they resided for 179 days this season (152 of 162 game days)…Washington took over sole possession of first place on May 29 and did not relinquish it for the remainder of the season.

The Nationals clinched the 2016 National League East title on September 24 at PNC Park…After a win over the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Nationals watched the conclusion of the New York Mets’ loss to the Philadelphia Phillies before popping the champagne.

  • No team in baseball won more games against its own division than the Nationals, who went 51-25 against their fellow NL East foes…Washington’s 51 intra-divisional wins are the most for any team in club history (2005-present), and their .671 winning percentage vs. the NL East is nearly 80 points higher than any other Nationals iteration (2014: .592).
  • The NL East crown is the sixth division title Nationals Manager Dusty Baker has led his clubs to, joining the 1997 & 2000 Giants, 2003 Cubs, 2010 & 2012 Reds.
  • Baker joined Billy Martin and former Nationals skipper Davey Johnson as the only managers in MLB history to lead four different clubs to the Postseason.

In securing the 2016 NL East Crown, the Nationals earned the sixth postseason berth in 83 seasons of Major League Baseball in the nation’s capital (2016, 2014, 2012, 1933, 1925, 1924)…The Nationals claimed the NL East title in 2014 and 2012, while the AL Nationals/Senators won the World Championship in 1924 and claimed American League flags in 1933 and 1925…This year’s division title is the franchise’s (WSH/MON) third in 47 NL seasons (2012, 2014), although the 1981 (30-23, .566 post-ASB) and 1994 Montreal Expos (74-40, .649) finished atop the NL East in seasons affected by labor stoppages…The Nationals hope to snap D.C.’s 83-year World Series drought (1933) and its 92-year MLB World Championship wait.

The 2016 Nationals have several members of their roster who are no strangers to the Postseason — and multiple who are also no strangers to Postseason success:

  • 2B Daniel Murphy: The 2015 National League Championship Series MVP, Murphy almost single-handedly led the New York Mets to the World Series last season…In 14 career Postseason games, Murphy has hit .328 (19-for-58) with two doubles, seven home runs, 11 RBI, six walks, 13 runs scored, and a .724 slugging percentage…Murphy’s otherworldly 2015 Postseason included a Major League record six consecutive games with a home run.
  • LF Jayson Werth: The elder statesman of the 2016 Nationals, Werth has played in 53 career playoff games spanning seven different seasons…In helping lead the Philadelpha Phillies to back-to-back World Series appearances (including the 2008 title) in 2008-2009, Werth hit .292 with seven doubles, two triples, nine home runs, 18 walks, 17 RBI and 22 runs scored…Werth’s career in Washington is not without its own Postseason highlights, though, as his iconic walk-off home run in Game 4 of the 2012 NLDS is one of the most celebrated moments in Nationals history…On the whole, Werth’s 14 career Postseason home runs rank fourth-most among all active Major Leaguers.
  • RF Bryce Harper and 3B Anthony Rendon: Two of the youngest members of the Nationals’ 2014 NLDS roster (vs. SFG), Harper and Rendon were unfazed by the spotlight in Washington’s last foray into Postseason baseball…Against the Giants, Rendon went 7-for-19 (.368) in four NLDS games, walking once and driving in a run, while Harper hit .294 (5-for-17) with one double, three home runs, two walks and four RBI.

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