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Nationals bullpen is going strong in NLDS with Dodgers

Nationals bullpen is going strong in NLDS with Dodgers
Corey Seager of the Dodgers strikes out in the eighth inning of Game 3 of a National League division series as Nationals catcher Jose Lobaton celebrates. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

A by-the-numbers look at the Washington Nationals' 8-3 win over the Dodgers in Game 3 on Monday, and their National League division series:

Much has been said and written about the Dodgers bullpen, which led the major leagues during the regular season with 590 2/3 innings, 633 strikeouts and an earned-run average of 3.35.

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Well, as the Dodgers have found out in the first three games of a National League division series, the Nationals have a strong group of relief pitchers as well.

Nationals relievers Sammy Solis, Oliver Perez, Shawn Kelley and Mark Melancon combined for 4 2/3 scoreless innings Monday, meaning the Washington bullpen has not given up a run in 12 1/3 innings during the series.

Not a total surprise. The Nationals bullpen was right behind the Dodgers in ERA, at 3.37, and had 46 saves, one fewer than its NLDS opponent.

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Take away Carlos Ruiz's pinch-hit, two-run home run Monday that brought an end to Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez and Washington left-handers have given up only six hits in 10 2/3 innings during the series.

That's not a surprise, either.

Against left-handers during the regular season, the Dodgers had a .213 batting average, by far the worst in the major leagues.

This series, they are batting  .179 (seven for 39) against left-handers, although four of the Dodgers' left-handed hitters — Corey Seager, Joc Peterson, Chase Utley and Adrian Gonzalez — each had a hit among the team's six in Game 3.

Before the game, third baseman Justin Turner pointed out that, despite the numbers, the Dodgers had defeated Madison Bumgarner, David Price and Matt Moore — a trio of good left-handed starters — this season.

Nationals starter Gonzalez would not be included in that company.

Washington, which had the second-best record in the NL, was 14-18 in games Gonzalez  started. He had a record of 4-6 with an ERA of 4.69 on the road and opponents batted .343 against him in his last five starts, when he had a 7.43 ERA.

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The Game 3 winner of a best-of-five postseason series tied 1-1 has gone on to win the series 75% of the time (36-12).

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With $37.8 million in starting pitching looking on, it appears the Dodgers will have to depend on a 20-year-old rookie making the major league minimum if they are to advance beyond the NLDS.

Regardless of whether ace Clayton Kershaw starts on short rest Tuesday, Julio Urias is likely to be called upon as a starter in one of the two games that could be left on the schedule.

Not active for this series are left-hander Brett Anderson, who is being paid $15.8 million this season; left-hander Scott Kazmir, who is getting $11 million in the first year of a three-year, $48-million deal; and right-hander Brandon McCarthy, who is receiving $11 million in the second year of a four-year, $48-million deal.

Kazmir is on the disabled list because of a rib-cage injury. He lasted one inning — 19 pitches — during a Sept. 23 start, which was his first big league appearance in more than a month.

McCarthy and Anderson also had extended periods on the DL and failed to impress in late-season efforts to make the team's playoff roster.

In consecutive games late last month, Anderson and McCarthy made relief appearances, trying to show the club they would be ready for a bullpen role or a shot as the fourth starter.

The results: Anderson gave up five hits in 2 1/3 innings but managed to escape without giving up a run, lowering his ERA to 11.91; McCarthy gave up six runs and five hits and a walk without recording an out.

mike.hiserman@latimes.com

Twitter: @MikeHiserman

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