2016 National League Division Series
The 2016 National League Division Series were two best-of-five-game series to determine the participating teams in the 2016 National League Championship Series. The three divisional winners (seeded 1-3) and a fourth team—the winner of a one-game Wild Card playoff— played in two series. FS1 and MLB Network carried all the games in the United States.
These matchups were:
- (1) Chicago Cubs (Central Division champions) versus (5) San Francisco Giants (Wild Card Winner)
- (2) Washington Nationals (East Division champions) vs (3) Los Angeles Dodgers (West Division champions)
The higher seeded team in each series hosted Games 1, 2, and 5 (if necessary), and the lower seeded team hosted Games 3 and 4 (if necessary).
This was the second postseason meeting between the Dodgers and the Nationals franchise. Their most recent meeting was in the 1981 National League Championship Series, in which the Dodgers won the National League pennant over the then-Montreal Expos in five games. The Dodgers defeated the Nationals in five games and reached the National League Championship Series for the first time since 2013.
The Cubs and Giants also met for the second time in postseason play after the Giants defeated the New York Mets 3–0 in the National League Wild Card Game. Their last meeting was in the 1989 National League Championship Series, which the Giants won in five games. However, they did meet in a Wild Card tiebreaker in 1998 where the Cubs advanced, beating the Giants 5–3. The Cubs won the Division Series three games to one and advanced to the NLCS for the second consecutive year.
Chicago Cubs vs. San Francisco Giants
Chicago won the series, 3–1.
|1||October 7||San Francisco Giants – 0, Chicago Cubs – 1||Wrigley Field||2:30||42,148|
|2||October 8||San Francisco Giants – 2, Chicago Cubs – 5||Wrigley Field||3:03||42,392|
|3||October 10||Chicago Cubs – 5, San Francisco Giants – 6 (13)||AT&T Park||5:03||43,571|
|4||October 11||Chicago Cubs – 6, San Francisco Giants – 5||AT&T Park||3:25||43,166|
Washington Nationals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Los Angeles won the series, 3–2.
|1||October 7||Los Angeles Dodgers – 4, Washington Nationals – 3||Nationals Park||3:46||43,915|
|2||October 9||Los Angeles Dodgers – 2, Washington Nationals – 5||Nationals Park||3:55||43,826|
|3||October 10||Washington Nationals – 8, Los Angeles Dodgers – 3||Dodger Stadium||4:12||53,901|
|4||October 11||Washington Nationals – 5, Los Angeles Dodgers – 6||Dodger Stadium||3:44||49,617|
|5||October 13||Los Angeles Dodgers – 4, Washington Nationals – 3||Nationals Park||4:32||43,936|
Chicago Cubs vs. San Francisco
Game 1, October 7
| WP: Jon Lester (1–0) LP: Johnny Cueto (0–1) Sv: Aroldis Chapman (1)|
CHC: Javier Báez (1)
The Cubs began postseason play with starter Jon Lester on the mound facing Johnny Cueto for the Wild Card Game-winning Giants. In the pitching duel, Lester scattered five hits in eight innings of work, shutting out the Giants. Cueto also blanked the Cubs allowing only two hits prior to the eighth inning. In the eighth, Javier Baez hit a solo home run into the left field basket to put the Cubs up 1–0. Aroldis Chapman appeared for the save in the ninth and gave up a double to Buster Posey, but shut the Giants down as the Cubs took a 1–0 series lead.
Game 2, October 8
| WP: Travis Wood (1–0) LP: Jeff Samardzija (0–1) Sv: Aroldis Chapman (2)|
CHC: Travis Wood (1)
In game two of the series, the Cubs scored a run in the first inning on a Ben Zobrist single off former Cub Jeff Samardzija. Starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks had the key hit in the second inning, driving in two runs on a single up the middle. Kris Bryant drove in the Cubs' fourth run of the game two batters later and the Cubs led 4–0, forcing Samardzija from the game. In the top of the third, the Giants answered, scoring two runs on back-to-back doubles by Joe Panik and pinch-hitter Gregor Blanco and a sacrifice fly by Brandon Belt. Hendricks was hit in the arm by an Ángel Pagán line drive, forcing him to leave the game. Reliever Travis Wood ended the Giants' rally and, in the bottom half of the inning, hit a solo home run to put the Cubs up 5–2. The home run was the first by a relief pitcher in a postseason game since 1924. The Cub bullpen of Carl Edwards Jr., Mike Montgomery, and Héctor Rondón shut down the Giants for the remainder of the game with Chapman getting the save.
Game 3, October 10
| WP: Ty Blach (1–0) LP: Mike Montgomery (0–1)|
CHC: Jake Arrieta (1), Kris Bryant (1)
The Cubs looked to finish the series sweep with Jake Arrieta facing the Giants' Madison Bumgarner in game three. The Giants looked to extend their streak to 10–0 in their last 10 elimination games. Arrieta hit a three-run homer in the top of the second, putting the Cubs up 3–0. The Cubs threatened to chase Bumgarner from the game in the third inning putting runners on first and second with only one out following singles by Ben Zobrist and Addison Russell. However, the Cubs failed to score and the Giants scored a run in the third following a Denard Span double and added a second run in the fifth following Span's triple. In the eighth inning, Travis Wood gave up a single and Héctor Rondón walked a batter. Closer Aroldis Chapman came in early to get a six-out save, but Chapman gave up a two-run triple to Conor Gillaspie to give the Giants' their first lead of the series. Chapman was lifted shortly thereafter, getting only one out. The Giants added another run on a single by Brandon Crawford. In the ninth, trailing 5–3, Dexter Fowler led off with a walk and Kris Bryant hit a two-run home run off Giants' closer Sergio Romo. Mike Montgomery, took over in the ninth for the Cubs and held the Giants scoreless for four innings. In the 13th inning, the Giants' Brandon Crawford doubled to lead off the inning and Joe Panik hit a walk-off double to send the series to a game four.
Game 4, October 11
| WP: Héctor Rondón (1–0) LP: Will Smith (0–1) Sv: Aroldis Chapman (3)|
CHC: David Ross (1)
The Giants looked to continue their streak of wins in elimination games to 11 as the Cubs sent John Lackey to the mound against the Giants' Matt Moore. Lackey started off slow, allowing a leadoff double to Denard Span and a sacrifice fly by Buster Posey to give the Giants an early 1–0 lead. David Ross answered for the Cubs in the third with a solo home run to tie the game. The home run made Ross the oldest catcher ever to homer in a postseason game. However, Lackey got in trouble again in the fourth, giving up a run-scoring to single to Moore with the bases loaded and a force-out grounder by Span to put the Giants up 3–1. The Cubs bounced back with a run in the top of the fifth on a three base throwing error by Brandon Crawford and a sacrifice fly by Ross. Justin Grimm relieved Lackey in the bottom of the fifth and surrendered a single to Posey and double that just missed being a home run by Brandon Crawford. Travis Wood entered and gave up a single to Conor Gillaspie and sacrifice fly to Joe Panik as the Giants surged to a 5–2 lead. Moore cruised through the next three innings, retiring the Cubs in order in the eighth before being lifted for the Giants' bullpen to start the ninth as it appeared a Game Five was inevitable. However, the Giants ended up using five pitchers in the inning as Kris Bryant singled, Anthony Rizzo walked, and Ben Zobrist doubled to score Bryant and tighten the game at 5–3. Cubs manager Joe Maddon decided to pinch hit for Addison Russell and his 95 RBIs with Chris Coghlan. Giants manager Bruce Bochy countered with lefty reliever Will Smith and Maddon used rookie catcher Willson Contreras instead. Contreras promptly singled up the middle to tie the game at five. Jason Heyward's attempted sacrifice bunt was too hard and Contreras was forced out at second, but gold-glove winner Crawford's throw to first ended up in the dugout allowing Heyward to reach second with one out. Javier Baez then singled up the middle to complete the comeback and give the Cubs the 6–5 lead. Aroldis Chapman struck out the side in the bottom of the ninth to end the game and series as the Cubs eliminated the Giants and moved on to the NLCS. His 3 saves and 4 save opportunities tied and set Division Series records respectively. The Cubs' comeback marked the biggest comeback in postseason-clinching history as well as the fourth team to come back from 3 runs down in the ninth to win a postseason game. For the Giants this was their first ever postseason series loss at home since AT&T Park opened in 2000.
Composite line score
|San Francisco Giants||1||0||3||2||3||0||0||3||0||0||0||0||1||13||36||3|
|Total attendance: 171,277 Average attendance: 42,819|
Washington vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Game 1, October 7
| WP: Clayton Kershaw (1–0) LP: Max Scherzer (0–1) Sv: Kenley Jansen (1)|
LAD: Corey Seager (1), Justin Turner (1)
Plans called for retired pitcher and former National Liván Hernández to throw out the ceremonial first pitch, but after Hurricane Matthew′s effects on Florida made it impossible for Hernández to fly to Washington, the Nationals surprised the fans at Nationals Park by having Nationals starting catcher Wilson Ramos, whose season had ended with a knee injury on September 26, throw it instead, to a huge roar from the crowd. The game provided an historic first: When Dusty Baker and Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts exchanged line-up cards before the game, it became the first postseason game in the Major League Baseball history in which two African-American managers faced one another.
The game was billed as a marquee match-up between two of the best starting pitchers in Major League Baseball, Clayton Kershaw for the Dodgers and Max Scherzer for the Nationals, but neither starter was particularly sharp. Pitching to rookie Nationals catcher Pedro Severino, Scherzer gave up a solo home run to the second batter he faced, Dodgers rookie shortstop Corey Seager, on his sixth pitch of the game. In the third inning, after Dodgers second baseman Chase Utley drove in left fielder Andrew Toles with an RBI single, Scherzer gave up a two-run home run to Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner, giving Los Angeles a 4–0 lead. The Dodgers did not score again; Scherzer did not allow another run before left the game after six innings, and the Nationals bullpen also held them scoreless.
Kershaw pitched five innings and held on to the lead, but the Nationals repeatedly pushed him to the brink, and his frequent discussions on the mound with Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal incited a chorus of boos from the crowd. In the second inning, with two Nationals on base after Daniel Murphy and Ryan Zimmerman singled and Anthony Rendon reached first on a fielder's choice, Danny Espinosa, batting seventh instead of a probable eighth due to Ramos′s unavailability, struck out for the second out. A Dodgers error then allowed Severino to reach first base and load the bases, but Scherzer popped out to end the inning without the Nationals scoring a run. In the third inning, Rendon singled to drive in two runs as part of what promised to be a big inning, cutting the Dodgers′ lead to 4–2, but Espinosa struck out to end the inning with two men on base. Severino doubled in the fourth and scored on a sacrifice fly by Trea Turner to reduce the Dodgers′ lead to 4–3, but in the fifth, with Jayson Werth and Rendon on base, Espinosa again struck out to end the inning. Although he provided his typically reliable defense in the field during the game, Espinosa′s strikeouts had left six men on base and brought three rallies to an end.
Kershaw left the game after five innings and 101 pitches, having given up three runs, all earned, on eight hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. The Los Angeles bullpen followed with four innings of shut-out ball, but the Nationals had ample opportunities to tie the game. Trea Turner, a prolific base-stealer, walked in the sixth inning but was stranded at first. In the seventh inning, Murphy walked with one out, but then got a poor jump in an attempt to steal second and was thrown out. In the eighth, Clint Robinson doubled in the first postseason plate appearance of his career and speedy Michael A. Taylor entered the game to pinch-run for him, but Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen struck out pinch-hitter Chris Heisey on a called third strike to end the inning. It was the Nationals' last scoring threat; they had the tying run on base in four of the game′s last five innings without being able to score a single run, and left a total of nine men on base during the game. The Dodgers won 4–3 to take a 1–0 lead in the series.
Game 2, October 9
| WP: Blake Treinen (1–0) LP: Rich Hill (0–1) Sv: Mark Melancon (1)|
LAD: Corey Seager (2)
WAS: José Lobatón (1)
Originally scheduled to begin at 4:08 p.m. EDT on October 8, Game 2 was postponed due to rain and rescheduled for 1:08 p.m. EDT on October 9. Retired first baseman and former National Adam LaRoche threw out the ceremonial first pitch, tossing it to his son Drake, who spent a great deal of time with the Nationals during his father′s years on the team.
Game 2 began much as Game 1 had: Washington′s starting pitcher Tanner Roark, starting Game 2 because Stephen Strasburg remained sidelined with an injury, struggled; for the second game in a row, Los Angeles shortstop Corey Seager hit a first-inning solo home run in the Dodgers′ second at-bat of the game; and the Dodgers′ starter, Rich Hill, struck out the side in the bottom of the first, as Clayton Kershaw had in Game 1. The Nationals, meanwhile, again missed a chance at a big inning when reserve catcher José Lobatón, starting in the postseason due to the unavailability of the injured Wilson Ramos, hit into a double play with the bases loaded to end the second inning.
The Dodgers added another run in the third inning on an RBI single by right fielder Josh Reddick; Bryce Harper made a good throw to the plate from right field, but Lobatón was unable to tag Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner out at home. Dodgers starter Rich Hill used his curveball very effectively for 3⅔ innings, and Los Angeles held a 2–0 lead in the bottom of the third when Lobatón came to bat again with two outs and Daniel Murphy and Danny Espinosa on base. Lobatón hit only the second postseason home run of his career, and only the second postseason homer by a catcher in the history of the Montreal-Washington franchise, driving in Murphy and Espinosa to give the Nationals a 3–2 lead, the first time they had taken the lead in the series.
Although Roark had an uncharacteristically unsteady outing, the Dodgers were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position during the first five innings even though they had the bases loaded with one out three times, at least in part thanks to good Nationals defensive plays, notably by left fielder Jayson Werth. A tiring Roark left the game in the fifth inning, after 4⅓ innings pitched and 85 pitches, with two Dodgers on base and Washington still holding a 3–2 lead. After that, Washington′s bullpen, a postseason weakness for the 2012 and 2014 teams, held the Dodgers scoreless; Marc Rzepczynski, Sammy Solis, Blake Treinen, Óliver Pérez, and Mark Melancon combined to give up only three walks (all by Rzepczynski) and one hit (a single yielded by Melancon) in the game′s remaining 4⅔ innings, striking out five Dodgers. The Dodgers were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position during the game, and by the end of the game, the Nationals′ bullpen had pitched 7⅔ innings in the series without giving up a run. Meanwhile, Murphy, who went 3-for-3 and scored a run, pushing his offensive output for the series′ first two games to 4-for-6 with two walks, drove in runs with singles in the fifth and seventh innings as Nationals fans in the crowd chanted ""MVP! MVP!" The Nationals went 4-for-8 with runners in scoring position, a turnaround from their previous postseason performance: From Game 5 of the 2012 National League Division Series until Lobatón′s homer in the third inning, they had gone only 3-for-35 in the postseason with runners in scoring position.
Washington won 5–2 to even the series at one. It was the first come-from-behind postseason win for a Washington, D.C., Major League Baseball team since the Washington Senators came from behind to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 4–3 in Game 3 of the 1925 World Series 91 years earlier on October 10, 1925. It also was the Nationals′ first postseason victory at home since a 2–1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 4 of the 2012 National League Division Series on October 11, 2012.
Game 3, October 10
| WP: Sammy Solis (1–0) LP: Kenta Maeda (0–1)|
WAS: Anthony Rendon (1), Jayson Werth (1)
LAD: Carlos Ruiz (1)
The Nationals put pressure on Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda from the outset, loading the bases in the first inning on a single and two walks; although they did not score, they forced him to throw 28 pitches. In the Dodgers′ half of the first, Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez walked Los Angeles third baseman Justin Turner; Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager then staked the Dodgers to a 1–0 lead in the first inning, as he had in both previous games of the series, this time with an RBI double that drove in Turner.
The Nationals' offense erupted in the third inning. Trea Turner singled, then scored to tie the game at one when Jayson Werth doubled. Bryce Harper then singled, scoring Werth to give the Nats a 2–1 lead, and Anthony Rendon followed that with a 432-foot (132-meter), two-run home run into the left field seats, putting Washington ahead 4–1. Maeda left the game after the inning, having thrown 68 pitches.
After the Dodgers scored their first-inning run, Gio Gonzalez retired 11 of the next 12 batters he faced. However, with one out in the fifth inning, on his 83rd pitch, he gave up a two-run homer to Dodgers pinch-hitter Carlos Ruiz that narrowed the Nationals′ lead to 4–3. Nationals manager Dusty Baker immediately took Gonzalez out of the game, and, for the second consecutive game, Nationals relievers had to pitch the final 4 2⁄3 innings. Sammy Solis relieved Gonzalez and pitched 1⅔ innings, followed by Óliver Pérez for a third-of-an-inning and Shawn Kelley for 1⅔ innings, all scoreless; Kelley retired all five Dodgers he faced, striking out three of them. The Dodgers′ bullpen also shut the Nationals out through the eighth inning, and Washington still clung to a 4–3 lead going into the ninth.
Los Angeles closer Kenley Jansen came in to pitch the ninth inning, hoping to hold the score at 4–3 and give the Dodgers a chance to tie or win the game in the bottom of the inning. But Jayson Werth led off with a 450-foot (137-meter) home run into the left-field stands that quieted the crowd and gave the Nationals an important insurance run. Jansen then walked second baseman Daniel Murphy and hit Harper with a pitch and, after Rendon popped out, first baseman Ryan Zimmerman doubled off the right field wall, scoring both Murphy and Harper and knocking Jansen out of the game. By the time Washington pinch hitter Chris Heisey came to bat with a 7–3 lead, many Dodger fans were leaving the stadium; Heisey capped the inning by scoring Zimmerman with a sacrifice fly to make the score 8–3. Nationals closer Mark Melancon then pitched a perfect ninth to seal the victory, completing 4⅔ scoreless innings by the Nationals′ bullpen; in the series thus far, Nationals relievers had pitched 12⅓ innings without yielding a single run, striking out 14 Dodgers.
By the end of the game, Zimmerman was hitting .455 in the series, while Werth was hitting .417 and Murphy .400. The win gave the Nationals a 2–1 lead in the series, their first lead in a post-season series since the first game of the 2012 National League Division Series.
Game 4, October 11
| WP: Joe Blanton (1–0) LP: Blake Treinen (1–1) Sv: Kenley Jansen (2)|
LAD: Adrian Gonzalez (1)
Facing elimination, the Dodgers opted to have their ace starter Clayton Kershaw pitch again on only three days rest. In the top of the first inning, the Nationals pressed him, with Trea Turner leading off with a walk and Bryce Harper following with a single, after which Daniel Murphy drove in Turner with an RBI single to give the Nationals a run in the first inning for the first time in the series. Nationals starter Joe Ross, however, had a rough first inning himself, hitting Justin Turner with a pitch and giving up a two-run homer to Adrian Gonzalez.
With a 2–1 lead, Kershaw then settled down, allowing Washington to tie the game at two in the top of the third with singles by Trea Turner and Jayson Werth and a sacrifice fly by Murphy that drove in Turner, but otherwise keeping the Nationals scoreless until the seventh inning. Ross, meanwhile, struggled. In the bottom of the third inning, he gave up a lead-off double to Kershaw; after keeping Kershaw at second and recording two outs, he allowed a single by Justin Turner that scored Kershaw, walked Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Reddick to load the bases, and then hit Joc Pederson with a pitch, forcing Justin Turner home from third. Ross left the game with the Dodgers leading 4–2, having thrown 55 pitches in 2⅔ innings, giving up four runs, all earned, on three hits and two walks, and striking out three.
The Nationals bullpen faced another long outing. They stretched their streak of scoreless innings in the series to 14⅓, but with two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning, Reynaldo López became the first Washington reliever to give up a run in the series when Reddick singled and Pederson drove him in with an RBI double, giving Los Angeles a 5–2 lead. The Nationals′ offense, meanwhile, finally got to Kershaw, staging a comeback in the top of the seventh inning. Danny Espinosa, who had gone 0-for-10 with nine strikeouts in the series, singled for his first hit of the 2016 postseason. He was still on first with two outs when Trea Turner singled and Harper walked to load the bases, driving Kershaw out of the game after throwing 110 pitches. Dodgers reliever Pedro Baez then hit Werth with a pitch to force Espinosa home, and reliever Luis Avilán gave up a single to Murphy that scored Turner and Harper, tying the game at five, with all five Nationals runs charged to Kershaw.
Pitching the bottom of the eighth for Washington, Blake Treinen got the first two outs, but then hit Andrew Toles with a pitch and gave up a single to pinch-hitter Andre Ethier, followed by a single by Chase Utley that drove in Toles to give the Dodgers a 6–5 lead. Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen secured the Dodgers′ victory with a perfect ninth in which he struck out two Nats, and Los Angeles tied the series at two.
Daniel Murphy′s 2-for-3 performance in the game pushed his postseason average for 2016 to .462, and his four RBIs set a new Montreal-Washington franchise record for RBIs by a single player in a postseason game. At the end of the game, the Nationals′ bullpen ERA for the series stood at 1.02, with only two runs given up in 17⅔ innings of work. Washington′s starters, in contrast, had pitched only 16⅓ innings and given up 13 runs, with a 7.16 ERA for the series.
When Blake Treinen hit Andrew Toles with a pitch in the bottom of the eighth inning, it set two new Major League Baseball records: It was the first time in history that one team′s pitchers hit four batters with pitches in a single postseason game, and it was also the first time that two teams had combined to hit 11 batters with pitches in the course of a single postseason series.
Game 5, October 13
| WP: Julio Urías (1–0) LP: Marc Rzepczynski (0–1) Sv: Clayton Kershaw (1)|
LAD: Joc Pederson (1)
WAS: Chris Heisey (1)
In the fifth and final game of the series, at Nationals Park, Rich Hill on short rest struggled and didn't make it out of the third inning, but only gave up one run. Max Scherzer pitched well for the Nationals, holding the Dodgers scoreless for the first six innings. Joc Pederson hit a solo homer to lead off the seventh inning and tie the game. A two-out pinch-hit single by Carlos Ruiz off of Sammy Solis put the Dodgers ahead and Justin Turner's two-run triple extended it to 4–1. A two-run homer by pinch hitter Chris Heisey off Grant Dayton in the bottom of the inning made it 4–3 and the Dodgers brought in closer Kenley Jansen to get out of the inning. Jansen threw a career high 50 pitches in the game, working into the ninth inning. Clayton Kershaw came into the game in relief with one out in the ninth, two days after throwing 110 pitches in game four. He induced a pop up by Daniel Murphy and struck out Wilmer Difo swinging to end the game and series. It was Kershaw's first save in the majors and the only save he had in the minors was in his first professional season, for the 2006 Gulf Coast Dodgers, a game in which Jansen was his catcher.
At four hours, 32 minutes, this set the record for the longest nine-inning postseason game in Major League history. The seventh inning alone lasted one hour, six minutes, which featured seven pitching changes, six runs, four pinch hitters, two pinch runners, and a double switch. For the third time in franchise history, the Expos/Nationals blew a 2–1 lead in the postseason, both times in 1981. The 1981 National League Division Series, which the then Expos took a 2-0 lead against the Philadelphia Phillies lost game 3 and 4 but won game 5 in Philadelphia. In the ensuing NLCS against the Dodgers, the Expos also blew a 2-1 lead to lose the pennant.
Composite line score
|Los Angeles Dodgers||5||0||6||0||3||0||4||1||0||19||37||2|
|Total attendance: 235,195 Average attendance: 47,039|
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- 2016 Major League Baseball season schedule
- Schedule for 2016 Postseason
- 2016 National League Division Series Chicago Cubs v San Francisco Giants at Baseball Reference
- 2016 National League Division Series Washington Nationals v Los Angeles Dodgers at Baseball Reference