The National League Division Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Washington Nationals has been a lot like the Dodgers regular season. Lots of highs and lows, great moments and letdowns.
And it all boils down to a game five Oct. 13 at 5 p.m. in Washington.
The winner plays the Chicago Cubs in the National League Championship Series for the right to play in the World Series. The loser goes home to think about what might have been.
The Nationals will have their ace Max Scherzer on the mound. The Dodgers will have Rich Hill, the man with the blister on his pitching hand, who has been unsteady in his two months with the Dodgers.
But the Dodgers will have one thing going for them: the resilience that they have played with all year.
The resilience that helped them overcome an eight-game deficit in the standings with the Giants in June after ace Clayton Kershaw went down with a back injury; the resilience they have demonstrated time and time again as 28 different players went on the disabled list this season; the resilience they demonstrated when Charlie Culberson hit a walk-off home run Sept. 25 to clinch the National League Western Division title; and the resilience they demonstrated Oct. 11 by scoring a run in the bottom of the eighth inning after the bullpen blew a three-run lead an inning earlier.
If they have showed one thing all season it is the ability to bounce back.
They did it Oct. 11 with a rookie who no one had heard of in July when he was first called up from the minor leagues and two veterans who appear to be nearing the end of their careers.
Rookie Andrew Toles got aboard after being hit by a pitch. Andre Ethier made his first appearance in the series and hit the ball the opposite way for a base hit to left field. Chase Utley, the 37-year-old second baseman, whose hitting has tailed off at the end of the season, fell behind on the count and then stroked a base hit to right field to score Toles with the winning round in a 6-5 Dodger victory.
Kenley Jansen atoned for letting a close game became a blowout the day before by retiring the Nationals in order in the top of the ninth and the Dodgers were making plans to fly back to Washington for game five.
A win there and they fly to Chicago to open the National League Championship Series Oct. 15.
Don’t expect Rich Hill to pitch very long in game five, particularly if he gets into trouble early.
The Dodgers figure to have rookie left-hander Julio Urias in the bullpen early and everyone but starters Kenta Maeda and Clayton Kershaw ready to go after Urias.
It’s another chance for the Dodgers to bounce back. They’ve been doing it all season.
“If anyone gives up on this team, they haven’t seen us play a whole lot this year,” manager Dave Roberts said after the game. The Dodgers only need to be resilient nine more times to win a World Series for the first time in 28 years.
BASKETBALL REBOUND: Speaking of resilient, the Minnesota Lynx, defending champions of the WNBA, bounced back from an opening loss to the Los Angeles Sparks in the WNBA Finals Oct. 11 to score a 79-60 win over the Sparks, sending the best-of-five series to Staples Centers Oct. 14 for game three.
Maya Moore scored 21 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead the Lynx and Sylvia Fowles helped out with 13 points and 15 rebounds as the Lynx bounced back from a 78-76 last-second loss to the Sparks in game one on a jump shot by Alana Beard. Beard scored only four points in the game.
Nneka Ogwumike led the Sparks with 14 pounds and 12 rebounds, with Candace Parker having a quiet game with six points on three of 12 shooting.
In game one, Ogwumike and Kristi Tolliver led the way for the Sparks with 19 points each, while Ogwumike and Parker each grabbed nine rebounds.
Game four is Oct. 16 at Staples Center and the fifth game, if necessary, will be played Oct. 20 in Minnesota.
RAM ROAD TRIP: After having their three-game winning streak snapped by the Buffalo Bills, the Los Angeles Rams head out of town for the next two games, although the National Football league considers the Oct. 23 game against the New York Giants in London a Ram home game.
The Rams have their bye week after the game in London.
Injuries to their defensive lines and turnovers were decisive for the Rams in their 30-19 loss to the Bills.
The Rams played without defensive tackle Michael Brockers, defensive end Robert Quinn and defensive end William Hayes. Brockers has a hip injury, Quinn a shoulder injury and Hayes an ankle injury.
“What those guys do is pressure the quarterback and Rob’s always making a chase play from behind and we just didn’t get that today,” head coach Jeff Fisher said after the game.
Former USC defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman picked off a Case Keenum pass and returned it 41 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter to break a 16-16 tie and put the Bills ahead for good.
The Rams kicked a 22-yard field goal with almost six minutes to play to cut the lead to four, but failed to convert a fake punt from their own 23-yard line on their next possession and the Bills put the game away with a Tyrod Taylor touchdown pass to Marquise Goodwin three plays later.
The loss dropped the Rams into second place in the NFC West Division.
ROSEN BANGED UP: Unlike the NFL, where each team has to file an injury report each week, college football teams try to keep injuries as secret as possible.
Therefore, no one knows whether UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen will be able to play Oct. 15 when the Bruins travel to Washington State for a 7:30 p.m. game that will be televised on ESPN.
Rosen suffered leg and shoulder injuries in the Bruins 23-20 loss to Arizona State Oct. 8. He was replaced by , a former walk-on, who looked like a walk-on in his first career performance.
The Bruins rely more heavily on Rosen in his sophomore year than they relied on Brett Hundley two years ago when Hundley was in his third season as a starting quarterback.
The Bruins already have the worst running game in the Pac 12. They rushed for minus one yard against Arizona State, so if Rosen is out for any length of time, the Bruins are probably done for the season.
STREAKY TROJANS: After back-to-back losses to Stanford and Utah, USC has bounced back with wins over Arizona State and Colorado. The Trojans defeated the 21st-ranked Buffaloes Oct. 8, 21-17, the first ranked team they have beat this year in four tries.
The Trojans handcuffed themselves most of the game, turning the ball over four times including two fumbles that stopped the opening drives of both halves.
Other than his three turnovers, quarterback Sam Darnold had a good game, completing 25 of 37 passes for 358 yards and three touchdowns.
His fumble at the goal line cost the Trojans a touchdown on the game’s opening drive.
Running back Justin Davis sprained an ankle in the game and will probably sit out this week’s game against Arizona.
The Trojans travel to Tucson to play the Wildcats Oct. 15 with kickoff at 12:30 p.m. on Channel 11.