Nationals look to control Dodgers' offense again
According to STATSAccording to STATS
Washington Nationals at Los Angeles Dodgers
- The Washington Nationals and the Los Angeles Dodgers not only split their six meetings in 2017, each team scored exactly 16 runs in those contests.
- The Nationals allowed nine runs in the eighth inning of their 11-5 loss to the Mets on Wednesday. That is the most runs that they have given up in any inning of a game since April 8, 2017, when the Phillies put up 12 first-inning runs against Washington pitchers.
- The Dodgers put up 13 runs on the San Diego Padres on Wednesday and have now scored 7+ runs in each of their last four games (4-0). The last time they had 7+ runs in 5+ consecutive contests in a single season was a five-game streak, June 17-21, 2017.
- An MLB-best four of Bryce Harper's eight total home runs in 2018 have come on the first pitch of his at-bat. That is just one fewer homer than he had on 0-0 counts all last season (5).
- Max Scherzer is 2-1 with a 0.90 ERA in his last three starts versus the Dodgers, throwing 6+ innings while allowing exactly one run in each of these contests. He enters this weekend ranked sixth in the majors in ERA (1.33) and fourth in opponent average (.147) this season (minimum 1 IP/team G for both ranks).
- Clayton Kershaw has won his last nine starts versus the Nationals, posting a 0.92 (7/68.2) ERA and a .151 opponent batting average while striking out 82 batters in his 68.2 innings of work during this streak. The last pitcher to win 10 consecutive starts against any opponent was Yovani Gallardo (Mil) versus the Astros, August 14, 2009-September 16, 2012 (streaks exclude any relief app & would be broken by any no decision).
Notes Applicable For Series Dates: 4/20/2018 thru 4/22/2018
LOS ANGELES - Stephen Strasburg just received the blueprint on how to keep the emerging Los Angeles Dodgers' offense under wraps.
The Washington Nationals right-hander will get a chance Saturday to put his own spin on the game plan Max Scherzer used Friday when he gave up one run over six innings against the Dodgers. The Nationals won Friday's series opener at Dodger Stadium by a 5-2 score.
Strasburg (2-1, 3.08 ERA) is coming off a start against another offensive-minded National League West opponent when he had a no-decision against a Colorado Rockies team. He held them in check for the early going, but the former Cy Young Award winner eventually gave up four runs over six innings.
He is 2-2 with a 2.44 ERA in seven career starts against the Dodgers, and he went 1-1 with an 0.75 ERA against Los Angeles last year.
The Dodgers' offense was a force in carrying the club into the World Series last October, but the 2018 version has been hit and miss with third baseman Justin Turner on the disabled list because of a fractured bone in his left wrist.
Logan Forsythe was Los Angeles' second option at third base, but he too is on the disabled list with a shoulder issue. Los Angeles' matchup against Strasburg, after failing to get any traction against Scherzer, could indicate a lot about the state of the Dodgers' offense.
The Dodgers are coming off a series at San Diego where they put up 30 runs in a three-game sweep. Going back a bit further, the Dodgers averaged 7.5 runs a game in their last six contests before the Nationals came to town.
The Dodgers' attack has been aided the recent production of No. 2 hitter Corey Seager, who was carrying a .200 batting average and a .255 slugging percentage after his first 13 games. But in the final two games at San Diego on Tuesday and Wednesday, he went 6-for-11, including a four-hit game Wednesday.
"I felt better," Seager said this week, according to the Los Angeles Times. "But it's contagious. Everyone looked better."
Yet on Friday, he went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and left three runners on base.
Nationals offensive leader Bryce Harper is having no issues in the early going. He is among the National League leaders in most key offensive categories and got the Nationals going Friday with an RBI single in the first inning off Clayton Kershaw.
The Dodgers will send left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu (2-0, 2.87 ERA) to the mound Saturday. Ryu has started two games in his career against the Nationals, and both were last year. The Dodgers won both games and Ryu has a 0-1 record with a 3.09 ERA against Washington.
Ryu is a far different pitcher in 2018. He has held opponents to a .164 batting average while posting a 0.96 WHIP.
Regardless of what left-hander the Dodgers use, though, Nationals manager Dave Martinez will implore his team to use the same strategy.
"For me, you got to be aggressive," Martinez said, according to mlb.com. "When you get the opportunity, you've got to capitalize on it."
Updated April 21, 2018