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Gio Gonzalez faces Dodgers as Nats aim for lead in NLDS

Gio Gonzalez faces Dodgers as Nats aim for lead in NLDS

Game 3 of the NL Division Series
Nats
 (1-1) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (1-1) at Dodger Stadium

The Nationals broke out offensively to take Game 2 behind Jose Lobaton's huge three-run homer. Now both teams pick back up for Game 3 in Los Angeles after a quick turnaround and a long flight across the country.

The Nats aim to take a series lead with lefty Gio Gonzalez (11-11, 4.57) on the mound. Gonzalez flew to L.A. early, before the rest of the Naitonals, so the travel shouldn't affect him as much as others.

Gonzalez, though, will look to bounce back from a rough start his last time out. He lasted only 3 2/3 innings on 100 pitches against the Diamondbacks on Sept. 28. 

Gonzalez does have a strong history against the Dodgers working in his favor. He has a 1.69 ERA across 32 innings since he joined the Nationals before the 2012 season. And this year he was the only Nats pitcher to beat L.A. during the regular season with six innings of one-run ball on July 20.

Pitching for the Dodgers will be rookie Kenta Maeda (16-11, 3.48). The Nationals will be seeing him for the first time, which could present a challenge.

Washington's lineup has a few changes in it for Game 3. Bryce Harper has been dropped down to the cleanup spot with Jayson Werth back in the two-hole. Manager Dusty Baker has made an adjustment now that the Dodgers are starting a right-hander.

First pitch: 4:08 p.m.
TV: MLB Network (free preview*)
Radio: 106.7 The Fan, ESPN
Starting pitchers: Nats - Gio Gonzalez vs. Dodgers - Kenta Maeda

NATS 

CF Trea Turner
LF Jayson Werth
2B Daniel Murphy
RF Bryce Harper
3B Anthony Rendon
1B Ryan Zimmerman
SS Danny Espinosa
C Jose Lobaton
LHP Gio Gonzalez

DODGERS

LF Howie Kendrick
3B Justin Turner
SS Corey Seager
RF Yasiel Puig
1B Adrian Gonzalez
C Yasmani Grandal
2B Charlie Culberson
CF Joc Pederson
RHP Kenta Maeda

*MLB Network has a free preview for customers using these providers: AT&T U-verse, Cablevision, Comcast XFINITY, Cox, DIRECTV, DISH Network, Frontier, RCN and Verizon FiOS through Tuesday.

[RELATED: Ramos' first pitch provides special moment for Nats]

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Nationals stage spirited rally in ninth but fall just short in series opener vs. Cubs

Nationals stage spirited rally in ninth but fall just short in series opener vs. Cubs

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Wade Davis struck out batting leader Ryan Zimmerman with runners on second and third to end Washington's ninth-inning rally, and the Chicago Cubs held off the Nationals 5-4 Monday night.

In jeopardy of being shut out for the first time this season, the NL East-leading Nationals scored four times in the ninth. Their comeback began against Hector Rondon and continued when Davis entered.

MORE: CSN'S UPDATED MLB POWER RANKINGS

With Washington down 5-3, Bryce Harper's single loaded the bases with two outs. Davis threw a wild pitch that scored a run before striking out a swinging Zimmerman, who's hitting .344. The final pitch bounced, and catcher Willson Contreras zipped a low throw to first baseman Anthony Rizzo to close out the victory.

Contreras hit a leadoff home run in his first career game-opening at-bat and Eddie Butler (4-2) worked five scoreless innings to keep the Cubs ahead.

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2017 MLB Power Rankings: The Dodgers don't lose anymore

2017 MLB Power Rankings: The Dodgers don't lose anymore

The Dodgers are living their best life right now. 

Cody Bellinger looks like he's just going to go and hit two home runs a game for the rest of the year, Yasiel Puig is fun again and they're fresh off a 10-game win streak. Kenley Jansen went 112 batters without issuing a walk. All of this is coming, by the way, during a year when Clayton Kershaw is more Very Good than he is Great.

It's a good time to be a fan of an incredibly young and talented team in a top-5 market with a well-regarded front office that's been written a blank check. How did everyone not named the Dodgers do this week? To the rankings! 

2017 MLB POWER RANKINGS

30. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

2017 Record: 24-49
Previous Ranking: 30
Last 10 Games: 3-7
Notable Performance:  Maikel Franco (.333/.419/.481 last week)

And there goes Maikel Franco, right back on the trade block. The Phillies' rebuild is starting to look a lot murkier. 

29. SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

2017 Record: 27-50
Previous Ranking: 29
Last 10 Games: 1-9
Notable Performance: Brandon Belt (.316/.409/.947 last week)

It's weird to see the Giants play THIS poorly. Johnny Cueto is arguably the best available starter on the trade market though, and that obviously bodes well for their future. 

28. CINCINNATI REDS

2017 Record: 29-38
Previous Ranking: 27
Last 10 Games: 1-9
Notable Performance: Joey Votto (.360/.385/.680 last week)

When you go 1-9 over the last 10 and let the Nats put an 18-spot on you, you drop a spot or two in the rankings. Them's the rules. 

27. SAN DIEGO PADRES

2017 Record: 31-44
Previous Ranking: 29
Last 10 Games: 6-4
Notable Performance: Yangervis Solarte (.364/.462/.909 last week)

In an annual July tradition, the Padres will fleece someone for one of their relievers. Brad Hand in a Dodgers uniform, anyone? 

26. DETROIT TIGERS

2017 Record: 32-42
Previous Ranking: 15
Last 10 Games: 2-8
Notable Performance: Miguel Cabrera (.400/.444/.840 last week)

The Tigers are our biggest fallers of the week. 2-8 in their last 10, including a frustrating Perfect Game bid broken up by a bunt single. Not their best week. 

SEE THE REST OF THE RANKINGS HERE