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    • February 15, 2020 9:22 AM IST
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      not struggling, are dealing

      Its as if these teams swapped issues and situations in the last month. Justin Canale . In late June, it was the Nationals who were healthy and rolling while the Dodgers were laboring and trying to deal with significant injuries, especially one involving a star pitcher. Now its the Dodgers who are finally healthier and playing well while the Nationals, though not struggling, are dealing with a number of injuries, including one to a star pitcher. Now the teams play in the National League Division Series with compelling storylines at every turn. Here are five questions.What do we make of Clayton Kershaw? He is still the best pitcher in the game, one of the greatest of all time. And despite a back injury that cost him 11 starts, he finished the season with a 1.69 ERA, 11 walks and 172 strikeouts, the greatest walk-strikeout ratio in history for anyone with 150 Ks. And he has been very good since returning: 28 innings, 18 hits, four earned runs, two walks and 27 strikeouts. He hasnt completed a game though, and his stamina probably isnt where it should be, but he has been awfully good. Now he enters the playoffs, which brings the usual question: How can anyone this good have a 2-6 record and a 4.59 ERA in his postseason career? Maybe he will be fresher this October, or maybe the stamina wont be there. The Dodgers need him to be good through because hell be opposed by Max Scherzer in Game 1.How do the Nationals replace Stephen Strasburg in the rotation? They cant, hes that good, but at least they are used to this given how injured he has been in his career. After Scherzer, Washingtons next-best starter is Tanner Roark, one of the most underrated pitchers in the game. Roark went 16-10 this year with a 2.83 ERA, and the league hit just .207 off him the second half of the season. But the key to the series might be Gio Gonzalez. He is left-handed, and the Dodgers really struggle against left-handed pitching: Their OPS against lefties is .622, by far the worst in the league, and way below the league average of .735. Against right-handed pitching, the Dodgers OPS is .772. Additionally, Roark has some reverse splits going: lefties hit .214 off him, and righties hit .241.How healthy is Rich Hill? He is the Dodgers No. 2 starter, and when hes right, hes really good: Since Sept. 1, 2015, the only major league pitcher with a better ERA than Hill is Kershaw. That arching, angled curveball is really tough to handle, especially for a left-handed hitter. And Washingtons two best hitters, Daniel Murphy and Bryce Harper, are left-handed. They can hit anyone when they are healthy and swinging well, but Murphy has taken only three at-bats since suffering a buttocks strain on Sept. 17, and Harper has dealt with injuries on and off throughout the year, and finished with a .243 average. If Hill can avoid another blister issue, and Kenta Maeda pitches the way he has most of the season, the Dodgers rotation is very good.How much will the Nationals miss Wilson Ramos? He is the right-handed hitter that would hit between or around the two big left-handed hitters, Murphy and Harper, and now Ramos is gone for the postseason because of a knee injury. This is a terrible loss for the Nationals.?Jose Lobaton?will be an adequate fill-in defensively, but there is no replacing Ramos production (.307 average, 20 homers, 82 RBIs). The good thing for the Nationals is that they get production from everywhere on the field: Every position other than pitcher provided at least 20 homers this year.How much fun will it be to watch the rookies for each team? Tremendous fun. Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager will win the NL Rookie of the Year, and probably will finish in the top five of the MVP voting. He has been better defensively than some thought, and offensively, he has been terrific, taking such good at-bats all year, against right-handers and left-handers. But the guy that has changed the look of the Nationals has been leadoff man Trea Turner, a shortstop turned second baseman turned center fielder. Despite switching positions, he has put together a remarkable season. In 73 games and 307 at-bats, he hit .342 with a .937 OPS, 14 homers and 33 steals in 39 tries. No player (not just rookies) in major league history has ever hit 10 homers and stolen 30 bases in a season of only 73 games (Rickey Henderson, Davey Lopes and Bobby Bonds all did it in just under 100 games, but none close to 73 games). For the first time since the Nationals got really good a few years ago, they have a leadoff guy who can make something happen with his power and with his speed.Prediction: Dodgers in five. Walt Clago . Toronto has dropped games to Indiana and Miami since a five-game winning streak and closed out a three-game road trip at 1-2. Bill Mackrides . By having more great seasons. Manning was the only unanimous choice for the 2013 Associated Press NFL All-Pro team Friday. https://www.cheapnfljerseyschina.co/dennis-smith-jersey-for-sale/ . -- Jaye Marie Green shot a 4-under 68 on Thursday to increase her lead to five strokes after the second round of the LPGA Tours qualifying tournament.England Women coach Scott Bemand has made just one change to his starting line-up for their Six Nations showdown with France on Friday night. Harriet Millar-Mills comes into the side in place of Abbie Scott, who injured her knee in last weekends 20-13 win over Wales at Twickenham Stoop.England are on course for the Grand Slam after winning their opening four matches of the competition but France - who boast a superior points-difference - can still claim the crown if they win the head-to-head contest in Vannes, Brittany. Bemand is ready for a tough clash but remains upbeat about their chances of success as they look to claim their first Six Nations title since 2012.We are competing in a Grand Slam match and this will be a championship decider, he told the RFUs official website.We set a high bar for ourselves and we are where we wanted to be at this point in the tournament. Englands Amber Reed looks ahead to the Six Nations decider against France Our ambition is to go to France and win. Bruce Gregory. This is going to be a hard, physical game and in front of a home crowd, France will step up their physicality.Were ready for that but remember, theyve got to deal with us.England: 15 Katie Mason, 14 Lydia Thompson, 13 Lauren Cattell, 12 Ceri Large, 11 Lotte Clapp, 10 Amber Reed, 9 La Toya Mason; 1 Rochelle Clark, 2 Emma Croker, 3 Vickii Cornborough, 4 Emily Braund, 5 Tamara Taylor, 6 Harriet Millar-Mills, 7 Izzy Noel-Smith, 8 Sarah Hunter.Replacements: 16 Amy Cokayne, 17 Heather Kerr, 18 Bianca Dawson, 19 Poppy Leitch, 20 Poppy Cleall, 21 Bianca Blackburn, 22 Leanne Riley, 23 Ruth Laybourn.Watch France Women v England Women, live on Sky Sports 3 HD via the red button from 7.55pm on Friday. Also See: England Women target title England edge out Wales Rugby union video Six Nations table ' ' '

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