Dodgers Dugout: Breaking down the Game 5 victory over the Nationals

The Dodgers celebrate winning the NLDS.
(Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press)

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, and I’m glad this wasn’t a seven-game series. My heart couldn’t take it.

Breaking down Game 5

--The setup man showed up in the third inning. The closer came in during the seventh inning. The ace came in during the ninth inning. The 19-year-old-kid that they babied all year got the win. The ace, who many said always chokes in the postseason, closed it out on one day of rest. Dave Roberts managed to win this game and showed Dodgers fans that there is nothing more important than getting to the World Series. That is a feeling you never got the last three seasons, for a variety of reasons. Roberts has the team focused on one goal. It won’t be easy, but this team believes, and that is half the battle.


--Bless Dusty Baker, but he is the worst bullpen manager I have ever seen.

--Clayton Kershaw vs. Daniel Murphy with the season on the line. It doesn’t get much better than that.

--You think Kershaw is a little fresher in the playoffs because he missed two months during the season?

--Justin Turner is the best postseason hitter the Dodgers have had since the 1970s.

--I don’t want to get any more emails from people who say that Kenley Jansen doesn’t have heart and isn’t a good closer. He left everything on the mound in Game 5.

--Wait, does this mean we have to listen to more from Harold Reynolds?

--Joc Pederson’s slash lines for the NLDS: .333/.444/.600

--Will the Cubs be heavily favored over the Dodgers? Sure. Should they be? Yes. But the Mets were heavy favorites over the Dodgers in 1988.

--I think a lot of Nationals fans will be calling in sick today. The game ended around 1 a.m. there.

--Be prepared for a lot of “The Cubs are the team of destiny” talk which will be perpetutated on TV broadcasts. Just ignore it. The Cubs haven’t won since 1908, so they can wait a year. Really, what’s one more year?

--The last time Kershaw saved a game was in the minors in 2006. His catcher then? Kenley Jansen.

--Almost forgotten in all the excitement: the key hit by Carlos Ruiz in the seventh. Andrew Friedman acquired him to much criticism because he wanted Ruiz to provide a right-handed bat off the bench in the playoffs. Ruiz knocked in runs with a homer and a single in the series. Nice job, Mr. Friedman.


--It was nice to see another team pull a bonehead move like the Nationals did when they tried to have Jayson Werth score in the sixth inning. Werth had barely rounded third whenCorey Seager made the relay throw. Catcher Yasmani Grandal had time to make a sandwich while waiting for him. That sort of thing seemed to happen to the Dodgers the last three years.

--This was truly a team effort, and that is what is so great about it.

--You have to applaud the Nationals. They have a very good team, which is why defeating them feels so good.Thursday night was the most satisfying Dodgers victory in a long time.

--Twitter follower Jonathan Kent nailed the prediction, saying the Dodgers would win, 4-3. If you aren’t following me on Twitter (@latimeshouston), you are missing out on some fun.

--Take today and enjoy the win. Game 1 of the NLCS is tomorrow.

The NLCS schedule

Game 1: Saturday, Dodgers (Kenta Maeda) at Cubs (Jon Lester), 5 p.m. PT. TV: FS1

Game 2: Sunday, Dodgers at Cubs, 5 p.m. PT. TV: FS1

Game 3: Tuesday, Cubs at Dodgers, 5 p.m. PT. TV: FS1

Game 4: Wednesday, Cubs at Dodgers, 5 p.m. PT. TV: FSI

Game 5: Thursday, Cubs at Dodgers, 5 p.m. PT. TV: FS1

Game 6: Sat., Oct. 22, Dodgers at Cubs, TBA. TV: Fox or FS1

Game 7: Sun., Oct. 23, Dodgers at Cubs, TBA. TV: Fox or FS1

In case you missed it

What our great crew of Los Angeles Times reporters are saying about the Dodgers:

Dodgers’ Game 5 win is a magical scene right out of 1988


Dave Roberts makes the right moves in Dodgers’ Game 5 win

First look at the NLCS between the Cubs and Dodgers

What others are saying

Possible roster changes for Dodgers in NLCS

Cederstrom heads NLCS umpire crew

The Dodgers’ biggest win since 1988


And finally

Game 5 highlights. Justin Turner’s triple. Carlos Ruiz’s go-ahead single. Joc Pederson’s homer. Full game highlights.

Have a comment or something you’d like to see in a future Dodgers newsletter? Email me and follow me on Twitter: @latimeshouston