LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers have the Washington Nationals right where they want them.
The Nationals have the Dodgers right where they want them.
Both statements are valid because both teams have their most outstanding pitchers this season lined up to start the most important game of their season, the winner-take-all Game 5 of the National League Division Series on Wednesday at Dodger Stadium.
For the Dodgers: Walker Buehler.
For the Nationals: Stephen Strasburg.
This is not necessarily what either team preferred. A leisurely dinner Wednesday would have been nice, with this series over and the winners watching on television as the Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals extend their pitching staffs in their Game 5.
The Braves and Cardinals will do that, of course, but now so will the Dodgers and Nationals. "If we could draw it up, we would try to win the series earlier," Nationals infielder Howie Kendrick said. "But you're going to see two really dominant pitchers. It's going to be a battle. You couldn't ask for anything more."
No disrespect to the Braves and Cardinals, Buehler said, but the top starting rotations in the NL belong to the Dodgers and Nationals.
"These are the two best," he said.
No disrespect to Clayton Kershaw, but Buehler is the best in the Dodgers' rotation.