We’ve reached Labor Day my lovely Lairians. This generally means that 75% of the season has been played. Right now the Dodgers are in first place with a 77-60 record. However they have seen their lead shrink from 6 games to just 2.5 games. They just completed a 3-2 road trip, but lost two of three at San Diego over the weekend because of the pathetic give-up offense.
The club did virtually nothing with the bats until late Sunday afternoon when they changed their plate approaches. Instead of swinging for the fences and whiffing on every at-bat, they focused on making contact. This helped lead to a four run eighth inning and a 7-1 win.
Dodgers Lineup vs. Washington
Van Slyke LF
With rosters set to expand today, the Dodgers return home to open a nine game home stand. They’ll start by playing three with the NL East leading Washington Nationals. The Dodgers will also play Arizona and San Diego again to finish the home stand.
While the Dodgers are playing mediocre Baseball the Giants are going on another run again. They’ve now won six in a row and they’re playing three games and a suspended makeup game at Colorado. It’s possible and more than likely the Dodgers will be back in second place by the end of this week. It looks like it’s going to be 2012 all over again. I warned everyone about this back in May. As I’ve said before the Dodgers need to get some youth on the club.
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
The Dodgers are getting that as a group of reinforcements have joined the club today with rosters expanding. Outfielder Joc Pederson, infielder Alexander Guerrero, catcher Tim Federowicz, and pitcher Yimi Garcia are reportedly in the Dodgers clubhouse. Garcia is a bit of a surprise. Pederson will wear number 65 and Garcia will wear number 63 reportedly. Reliever Chris Perez is activated from the DL as well.
Tonight’s pitching matchup will see the Nationals send their left hander Gio Gonzalez to the mound. The 28-year old has had a so-so year. He’s 6-9 with a 3.86 ERA in 22 starts. He’s whiffed 131, walked 51, and posted a 3.24 FIP.
Gonzalez has faced the Dodgers twice and is 0-1 with a 1.50 ERA with a 2.5-1 strikeout to walk ratio. Gonzalez is 0-1 at Dodger Stadium, and 3-6 with a 3.63 ERA on the road.
Of course he has dominated the Dodgers by limiting them to a .59 (14 for 88) batting average against with one home run and a .205 OPS against. But don’t worry I’m sure the Dodgers will score their token one or two runs.
So in order for the Dodgers to win, starter Roberto Hernandez has to throw a shutout. And we know that won’t happen. Hernandez is 2-1 with the Dodgers with a 3.52 ERA. Overall he’s 8-9 with a 3.81 ERA in 27 games.
However, Hernandez has seen Washington a lot from his days with the Phillies, and he’s pitched very well against them. Hernandez is 3-1 with a 1.19 ERA in four starts versus Washington. The current group of Nationals are batting .247 (23 for 93) with no home runs and a .616 OPS against.
Denard Span is batting .289 (11 for 38 with two triples, and two doubles against Hernandez. Also watch out for Werthless who is 4 for 9 off of Hernandez as well.
Remember the Dodgers can’t hit left handers at home. They’re only a break even club against southpaws at Chavez Ravine, while on the road they are something like 14-3. Of course don’t be surprised at all when it is 3-0 Washington after the first inning.
Washington is a good team, despite being recently swept by the Phillies. They have a 77-58 record and a comfortable 6.5 game lead over Atlanta. They also have one of the better pitching staffs in Baseball.
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
The Dodgers will field the same lineup as usual, with Scott Van Slyke in left field against a lefty. This time the slumping Yasiel Puig is dropped down to sixth in the order. I don’t think he’s ever batted sixth before. It seems like Puig and Gordon are both breaking down. They’ve never played this many games before over a full season. This is crunch time, so time to suck it up and step your game up. Otherwise we’re all playing golf in October.
And oh lookie here, the Giants of course won their suspended makeup game at Colorado by a 4-2 score. That would give them seven wins in a row, and the Dodger lead dwindles to two games. The Giants have their regularly scheduled game later tonight at Denver. I told you guys! I TOLD YOU ALL THIS WOULD HAPPEN. It’s 2012 all over again. Well, enjoy first place while it lasts because once this series is over it’s back to second place. Playing .500 ball in September just isn’t going to cut it. It’s time to play with some urgency, or else.
Sorry to say guys, while the game is on MLB Network, according to reports it’s blacked out in Los Angeles.
I hope everyone has a happy and safe Labor day. We’ll see you after the game. Stay safe out there peoples!
Game Time 5:10 PM