The Dodgers evened up the series in D.C. on Tuesday evening with the triumphant return of ace pitcher Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw was nothing short of dominant and earned his second victory on the season. With a little help from the Dodgers’ offense which scored eight big runs off the bumbling Nationals, the Dodgers finally were able to counterbalance the awful bullpen which once again struggled. Chris Perez had a disastrous eighth inning where we saw him allow 3 runs on 3 hits with 3 walks. Luckily Jamey Wright and Kenley Jansen were able to get the final four outs of the game to give the Dodgers the much needed win.
The series finale and last game of this long road trip will take place Wednesday morning in the country’s capitol. It’s been a tiresome trip which included snow and rain delays as well as a heart aching injury to Yasiel Puig in Miami. Puig, who has sat out the last two games because of headaches, is feeling better and will likely return to the Dodgers lineup on Wednesday. The Dodgers would love to finish up this weather driven road trip with a series win versus the Nats before heading home to take on the Giants at Dodger Stadium for a four-game set.
Before they even think about the Giants, the Dodgers will have to contend with Stephen Strasburg on Wednesday. The 25-year old San Diego native, has been very tough against the Dodgers in his three career starts against them. He doesn’t have a record, but he does have a 1.42 ERA over those three matches. He’s struck out 19 Dodgers in 19 innings. This season he has already collected 58 strikeouts in just 40 innings of work. Last time out against Philadelphia, he allowed 3 runs on 6 hits with 5 strikeouts and a walk over 6 innings. Strasburg has only pitched 7 innings in a start once this season. Hanley Ramirez, who hit his fourth homerun of the year yesterday against the Nats, is hitting .308 with 2 doubles and a homerun against Strasburg. The only other Dodgers who have managed to collect a hit against Strasburg is Adrian Gonzalez (3), Juan Uribe (2), and Dee Gordon (1).
Dan Haren will be facing his former team, and the right-hander looks to go 5-0 on the season should he pull out a victory versus the Nats. Haren has been excellent thus far for the Dodgers, and he has won three of his last four starts. Haren, also a So Cal native, beat the Twins in his last start. He allowed 4 runs (3 earned) on 6 hits with 7 strikeouts and 3 walks over 6 2/3 innings of work. He is 3-2 against the Nationals in his career with a 2.48 ERA in 6 games (5 starts). He has made 16 starts at Nationals Park where he is 5-7 with a 5.26 ERA. If you remember, he struggled with the Nationals part of last season and finished with a 10-14 record and 4.67 ERA in 31 games. Nate McClouth has really hit Haren well in the past, and he has 7 hits in 13 at-bats against him including 4 doubles and a homerun.
The Dodgers are in third place and 2 1/2 games back of the Giants right now in the NL West. The Nats find themselves tied with the better
than expected Marlins in the NL East behind Atlanta. The Dodgers and Nats both have defensive issues, and the Dodgers took advantage in Tuesday’s game. The Dodgers were still able to defeat Washington in Game 2 despite not having Puig in the lineup nor Adrian Gonzalez who was getting a much needed day off.
Prediction: Adrian Gonzalez, rested and ready, gives Strasburg trouble in the series finale.
Another morning Dodger game awaits us, so brew your coffee and get ready for some capital city action. And if you’re on the East coast, grab Dodgers vs. Nationals tickets from ScoreBig.com!