Dodger Hitters vs. Nats Pitching
As I mentioned earlier, the Nationals have three of the best starters in all of baseball in Scherzer, Strasburg, and Corbin. Like I did with the Dodgers best three starters, I’ll look into how well this trio did against the Dodgers this season, while putting an additional focus on Washington’s bullpen, known to be one of the worst in the playoffs, if not in all of baseball.
For Mad Max (Scherzer, not Muncy), he held the Dodgers to a .200 average in 25 at-bats, with seven strikeouts and two walks. The only active Dodger with an extra-base hit off of Scherzer is Justin Turner, who connected for a home run off of him this season.
Strasburg has faced the Dodgers more and done better against them, and he and Corbin will be much more likely to face the Dodgers more than once in the NLDS, though knowing Scherzer’s competitive spirit, he likely will too if the series goes five games.
For Stras, he’s held the Dodgers to a .152 batting average in 46 at-bats, striking out 18 and walking none. He did not allow a home run against LA either, allowing one double apiece to Cody Bellinger, Matt Beaty, and A.J. Pollock.
But perhaps the best starter for the Nationals to use against the NL-leading Boys in Blue will be (the pitcher I noted as a Dodger Killer before this season). Corbin, the only dangerous lefty in the Nats’ rotation, has a history of stopping the generally lefty-heavy LA offense. Here’s what I found out about his 2018 campaign against LA last season:
"One outgoing “Dodger Killer” is Patrick Corbin. Corbin had a .128 batting average against and only allowed two runs in 86 ABs against the Dodgers last year. His 33/8 strikeout-to-walk rate against the Dodgers was one of the better rates among Dbacks pitchers last season and his departure to the Nationals this offseason really hurt their 2019 outlook."
But what about this season? Did he continue to perform or did he sputter against his former-NL West opponent?
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Well, he certainly didn’t sputter. He held the Dodgers to a .125 average, allowing just three singles and four walks versus nine strikeouts. He and his nasty stuff from the left side will likely be tough for the Dodgers.
Since June 29 (the same cut off as I used with the Nats), the Boys in Blue only have hit .204 against lefties, many of whom were much worse than Corbin. On the season as a whole, the Dodgers didn’t do much better, hitting .248 against lefties.
But there is reason for optimism in that department and on the subject of hitting Corbin in general. Corbin did not have to face many of the team’s top hitters, especially the lefty-mashers. Pollock, the team’s best hitter against lefties, has six home runs and is hitting .323 against southpaws this season. Corbin also missed the hottest versions of Will Smith, Corey Seager, and Justin Turner. Plus, two of the three hits Corbin allowed were to David Freese.
If ever there were a time and a team to hit Corbin, it would be the 2019 postseason iteration of the Dodgers. And if they can execute against Corbin at the plate they will be in a position to win against the Nationals best weapon to use against the Dodgers off the mound.