After a much nicer game on Tuesday, the Dodgers will look for a series victory against a playoff contender and send Clayton Kershaw to the mound. That’s a fun sentence to type.
Kershaw leads the NL in FIP and K/9, and has given up five runs since the end of June, four of which came in his last start. He threw an eight-inning shutout against the Nats in Washington last month, where he struck out a season-high 14 batters and walked none.
Safe to say he’s in a bit of a hot streak, and should be able to continue it against the Nats. Kershaw has godly stats against pretty much every team, but in 11 career starts (12 games, apparently he came in in relief for a game?) against the Nats, Kershaw is 8-2 with a 2.31 ERA and 88 Ks/17 BBs in his career. Jayson Werth, Anthony Rendon and Ryan Zimmerman are all hitting over .300 with more than 10 plate appearances in their career against Kersh, and Werth has taken him deep twice. Bryce Harper, who missed Tuesday’s game with a sore knee, is 1-9 with 6 Ks in his career against Kershaw, but the one was a home run.
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The Nats counter with Jordan Zimmermann, who hasn’t been his Cy Young-caliber self this year. He has a 3.44 ERA (3.33 FIP) and his strikeout rate is lower while his walk, hit and home run rates are all higher than they were last year. He hasn’t been bad, but he seems to have taken a step back from his top-10 Cy Young finishes the last two years.
Zimmermann only has one decision in three career starts at Dodger Stadium. In those 20 innings, Zimmermann has allowed 10 runs and 19 hits and has a 1-0 record. He got the start in the first game after the all-star break against the Dodgers, and allowed two runs in four innings before the weird power outages began. His last start at Dodger Stadium came last September, where Zimmermann allowed two runs and four hits in six 1/3 innings, in a game that ended in a Nationals 14-inning victory.
As a team, current Dodgers are slashing .275/.320/.400 in 128 plate appearances against Zimmermann. Jimmy Rollins and Adrian Gonzalez have each taken Zimmermann deep, and Crawford is 5 for 13 with a walk and two doubles against him.
Yasiel Puig is still in the lineup and hitting fifth, which is noteworthy because he hasn’t played in the last three series-finales. Jose Peraza is back in the lineup and Enrique Hernandez is getting the start in place of Jimmy Rollins at short, who has been on fire of late. Bryce Harper is back in the Nationals’ lineup and hitting third.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 and the game will be shown on Sportsnet LA. Follow along on Twitter while I live tweet the game. And if you’re not a murderer, find me at the game. No exceptions