There's good news and bad news for the Los Angeles Dodgers (91-71) as they open their best-of-five National League Division Series series against the Washington Nationals (95-67) on Friday at Nationals Park.

The good news is the Dodgers' dreadful hitting against left-handed pitching (.622 OPS) won't matter much since the Nationals only have one left-hander of consequence: Gio Gonzalez (11-11, 4.57 ERA). The bad news? The Dodgers will be facing two right-handers who are Cy Young candidates: Max Scherzer (20-7, 2.96 ERA) and Tanner Roark (16-10, 2.38 ERA).

But it's unclear how Scherzer and Roark will do against a Dodgers lineup that has feasted on right-handed pitching (.772 OPS). Scherzer didn't face the Dodgers this season, while Roark faced Los Angeles once, allowing three earned runs over 7.1 innings.

Here are some other questions to consider.

Who Are The Game 4 Starters?

It will be interesting to see how managers Dusty Baker and Dave Roberts pick the Game 4 starters, should the series extend that far. Baker won't have the services of Stephen Strasburg (15-4, 3.60 ERA), who is out with strained flexor mass in his right arm, so Joe Ross (9-7, 3.43 ERA) will likely get the nod for Washington. Roberts may pick ace Clayton Kershaw (12-4, 1.69 ERA) on three days of rest, or take a chance on 20-year-old Julio Urias, who pitched 122 innings this season. But aside from Kershaw, Rich Hill (3-2, 1.83 ERA) and Kenta Maeda (16-11, 3.48 ERA), Roberts has a large group of starters who can pitch in relief. 

“Our guys are willing to adapt and not make excuses about it,” Roberts said. “Sometimes you sell players short when you don’t continue to challenge them.”

Are The Dodger Bats For Real?

After a slew of injuries, the Dodgers offense actually overachieved. But they still only finished seventh in runs (725 runs) in the NL, while the Nats finished fourth (763 runs). However, Justin Turner heated up in the second half, and Joc Pederson and Yasmani Grandal didn't falter late in the season as they did in 2015. Corey Seager wasn't that sharp in April, but was consistent for five consecutive months.

The lineup might actually be underrated, because of their depth. The big question mark is Andre Ethier, who might not be effective after sitting out most of the season. 

Who Won The Season Series? How Are They At Home And On The Road?

Overall, the Dodgers won the five of the six games in the series. Los Angeles outscored Washington, 26-21. The Nationals have been excellent at home (50-31, +58 run differential), while the Dodgers (38-43, -2 run differential) have been lackluster on the road. The Dodgers have thrived at home (53-28, +89 run differential), while the Nationals have been more than respectable (45-36, +93 run differential) on the road. But all of that can be thrown out in the postseason.

What's On The Line?

Both teams are underachievers in October. This is the eighth postseason appearance for Los Angeles since 2004, but the Dodgers have not reached the World Series since their Cinderella season in 1988. Washington has made three trips to the postseason and never won a series.

The Chicago Cubs (11/10) are the favorites to reach the World Series. The Nationals (16/5) have better odds than the Dodgers (19/5) to come out of the NL.

Will The Dodgers Win The Series?

Kershaw, who effectively returned from back issues, needs to be on top of his game, and the bats, obviously, need to show up. Adrian Gonzalez and Turner were able to drive in 90 runs a piece, while Pederson and Grandal are capable of powering the bottom of the order. The Dodgers can beat a Nationals team that is missing two key players: Strasburg and Wilson Ramos (knee), and with Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy banged up.

Dodgers in 4

Here is a look at the Dodgers 25-man roster:


Andre Ethier

Howie Kendrick

Joc Pederson

Yasiel Puig

Josh Reddick

Andrew Toles


Charlie Culberson

Adrian Gonzalez

Corey Seager

Justin Turner

Chase Utley


Austin Barnes

Yasmani Grandal  

Carlos Ruiz  

Starting Pitchers

Rich Hill

Clayton Kershaw

Kenta Maeda


Julio Urias*

Luis Avilan

Joe Blanton

Pedro Baez

Grant Dayton

Josh Fields

Kenley Jansen

Ross Stripling

*Urias could be used as a starter

Dodgers-Nationals NLDS Schedule 

Game 1 

Who: Kershaw (12-4) vs. Scherzer (20-7)

When: Friday, October 7

Where: Nationals Park

Time: 5:30 p.m. ET   

TV Channel: Fox Sports 1 

Game 2

Who: Hill (12-5) vs. Roark (16-10)

When: Saturday, October 8

Where: Nationals Park 

Time: 4:00 p.m. ET   

TV Channel: Fox Sports 1 

Game 3

Who: Maeda (16-11) vs. Gonzalez (11-11)

When: Monday, October 10

Where: Dodger Stadium

Time: TBD   

TV Channel: Fox Sports 1, MLB Network 

Game 4*

Who: Ross (9-7, 3.43 ERA) vs. TBD

When: Tuesday, October 11

Where: Dodger Stadium

Time: TBD

TV Channel: Fox Sports 1

Game 5*

Who: TBD

When: Thursday, October 13

Where: Nationals Park

Time: TBD   

TV Channel: Fox Sports 1

*If necessary