Washington Nationals defeat Los Angeles Dodgers 2-1: The Nationals won 2-1 to complete a series victory over the Dodgers. They’ve won the first two games of the series, with game three coming tomorrow in another stellar pitching matchup between Stephen Strasburg and Clayton Kershaw. The Nationals and Dodgers would both score a run in the first inning. Max Scherzer would strike out 9 batters in the first three innings (a batter would advance to first on one of the strikeouts because the ball got past the catcher). Brandon McCarthy was also impressive, but was outdueled by Scherzer. The Nationals would score the game’s final run in the fourth inning on a Daniel Murphy sacrifice fly. These two teams will play the third and final game of the series tomorrow in Los Angeles.
Washington Nationals at Los Angeles Dodgers: The Dodgers host the Nationals in game two of their three-game set. After losing the first game, the Dodgers will look to even the series. The Nationals will be starting Max Scherzer, who is having another impressive season. He is 6-3 with a stellar 2.56 ERA. The Dodgers will be countering with Brandon McCarthy. He’s also having a fantastic season. McCarthy is 5-2 with a 3.38 ERA. Both teams have a lot of quality bats in their lineups, so this could be a pitcher’s duel or a shootout. Although the Dodgers are at home, the Nationals are slight favorites to win this game.
Washington Nationals defeat San Francisco Giants 6-3: The Nationals defeated the Giants to win the second game of this three-game set. The Nationals have claimed the series after winning both of the first two games. Washington got off to a hot start by scoring three runs in the first two innings. The Giants responded in the second inning with two runs of their own. But the Nationals would score another three runs in the fifth inning. San Francisco would score a run in the seventh, but weren’t able to complete the comeback and defeat the Nationals. These two teams will play the third and final game of this series tomorrow in San Francisco.
Washington Nationals at San Francisco Giants: The Giants host the Nationals in the second game of their three-game set. The Nationals look to win the series after winning the first game by a score of 3-0. It will be interesting to see how both teams respond after the fight between Bryce Harper and Hunter Strickland. Strickland was upset about giving up two home runs to Harper a few years ago in the playoffs, so he threw the first pitch at Harper. It’s hard to blame Harper for defending himself after such a cowardice act. Hopefully the league comes down hard on Strickland for his selfish act. The Nationals are starting Gio Gonzalez, who has a 3-1 record and a 2.90 ERA. The Giants are countering with Jeff Samardzija, who has a 1-6 record and a 4.50 ERA. The Nationals are favorites to win this game.
Milwaukee Bucks at Toronto Raptors: The Bucks and Raptors are playing a pivotal game five in Toronto which will break the 2-2 series tie and give one of these teams an overwhelming advantage to win the series. Although the Raptors are favored to win this game and the series, the Bucks proved they can win in Toronto when they won the first game of the series. The Raptors were outplayed in each of the first three games, but were able to steal game two despite a poor performance from their backcourt. Stars Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan have lived up to their “trash bros” nickname during the playoffs, but are still in the driver’s seat to advance to the second round. They both had their first great game of the series in game four, which happened to be the first game that Giannis Antetokounmpo struggled. This game will come down to the two stars for each team. If Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton dominate, the Bucks will win game five. If Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan dominate, the Raptors will win game five. The stars for both teams will be under enormous pressure to help their team win and become overwhelming favorites to advance to the second round to face the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers.
Washington Wizards at Atlanta Hawks: The Wizards and Hawks will play a crucial game four in Atlanta that could possibly decide the series. If the Wizards win game four, they’ll take a 3-1 series lead back to Washington. In all likelihood, the Hawks won’t win the series if they lose this game. If the Hawks win game four, they’ll even the series at two games apiece. Either way, the Wizards will still be favored to advance to the second round. John Wall has been fantastic in all three games, but didn’t get any contribution from his teammates in game three. If the Hawks are able to shut down John Wall’s teammates again, they’ll have a great chance of winning this game. If Wall and his teammates are able to play their style of basketball, they Hawks will be in serious trouble. For all intents and purposes, this is a must-win game for the Atlanta Hawks.
Golden State Warriors at Portland Trail Blazers: The Warriors look to complete the sweep of the Trail Blazers in Portland. The Warriors have dominated the series, even with superstar Kevin Durant missing games two and three. Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum have been dominant in two of the three games, but it ultimately hasn’t mattered because they haven’t gotten any help from their teammates. Jusuf Nurkic tried to play in game three and was ineffective. He won’t play in game four and likely won’t return later in the series (if the Trail Blazers win this game). The Splash Bros have been dominant all series, and have gotten large contributions from their teammates to win all three games. Portland will try to become the first team to win a seven game series after losing the first three games, but they probably won’t even win this game. This isn’t a must-win game for the Warriors, but they’d like to win and get some rest. Hopefully they’ll be able to get Durant and coach Steve Kerr back during the playoffs, but they probably won’t need either of them to advance past Portland to the second round.