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Series Preview: The Dodgers Face Off Against the Struggling Nationals

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LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 08: Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates his two run homerun with Cody Bellinger #35 and Corey Seager #5, to take a 9-4 lead over the Atlanta Braves, during the eighth inning at Dodger Stadium on May 08, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

The Dodgers have played well over their last ten games, winning seven and scoring a whole lot of runs in the process. They will look to continue that trend this weekend against Washington as the Nationals come into town Thursday riding a losing streak. The Nats are 14-22 overall and have lost 8 of their last 10 games and 11 of their last 14. They come into Los Angeles on a four-game losing streak where they have averaged less than 2 runs a game while giving up over 6 per game.

Pitching Matchups

Thursday– Rich Hill vs. Patrick Corbin

Friday– Kenta Maeda vs. Anibal Sanchez

Saturday– Walker Buehler vs. Max Scherzer

Sunday- Hyun-jin Ryu vs. Stephen Strasburg

This weekend is looking like the best pitching matchups we have seen all season, so make sure you get out to Dodger Stadium! Rich Hill and Patrick Corbin get things going tonight, with Corbin set to make his return to Dodger Stadium. The 29-year-old lefty signed a big contract with Washington this offseason after spending the last six seasons in Arizona. He is coming off of a rocky outing in Philadelphia, where he allowed 3 runs across 6 innings of work. He faces off against the ageless Rich Hill, who is yet to find his groove so far.

Kenta Maeda faces off against Anibal Sanchez on Friday night, and Sanchez has had it rough as of late. He has an ERA above 5.00 on the season and it’s only gotten worse. Maeda is coming off of another bad outing of his own, after allowing 4 runs to San Diego through 6 innings. Walker Buehler has now allowed 3 runs in each of his last 3 starts, but it looks like he’s finding his stuff. He struck out a season-high 8 Braves on Monday and did not allow a walk. He faces off against the perennial Cy Young candidate Max Scherzer, who has been surprisingly ineffective this year at times. His 3.78 ERA would be the worst mark since 2011 if it remained there. He has always pitched well against the Dodgers though, with a career 2.77 ERA in 13 games.

Hyun-jin Ryu and Stephen Strasburg wrap the series on Sunday, with Ryu tossing a complete game shutout in his last start. Strasburg has racked up plenty of strikeouts in 2019, but he has also been susceptible to the long ball. He has allowed 6 home runs in his 8 starts this year, which isn’t quite close to Trevor Cahill’s 12, but still is not good.

Matchups To Watch

Justin Turner vs Patrick Corbin

JT has been red-hot as of late, hitting 4 home runs over his last 2 games. He is also hitting .367 in the month of May after hitting just .250 when the series wrapped up against the Cubs in late April. Turner has also owned Corbin in his career, hitting .414 with 2 home runs in 29 at-bats. Look for Turner to keep his hot streak going on Thursday night.

Pedro Baez vs. The National’s Offense

Say what you will about Pedro Baez, but the man has a knack for surprising you. He has held the current National’s hitters to a batting average of 0.087 across his career, with only 2 hits in 23 at-bats. He has also struck out 10 and walked 4 without allowing a home run. Look for Dave Roberts to lean on him heavily late in games. .

Travis d’Arnaud vs Max Scherzer

We have not seen d’Arnaud get into a game yet, but I think we will on Saturday. The recently acquired backstop has the most plate appearances against Max Scherzer, and despite his relative lack of success, that experience plays up.

Final Word

Despite the Nationals’ struggles as of late, I still think this will be one of the best series of the year. The pitching matchups alone are worth the price of admission. The Dodgers are 25-14, and I don’t think they are slowing down any time soon.

Written by Brook Smith

Brook is the Senior Editor of Dodgers Nation, with several years of experience in sports journalism. He is an avid Dodgers and Lakers fan, and can be spotted fairly often at Dodger Stadium and Staples Center.

2 Comments

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  1. Nationals did not struggle to much last night.. now did they?????….Wake up Dodger nation// new front office and manger needed!!!!

  2. Rich Hill may have reached his expiration date as a starter. I would much moving Urias to the starters rotation, and using Hill at the back end of the rotation or in long relief. Hill is not a dependable asset at this stage. At 39, his best years are behind him!!! Kersh-Buehler-Ryu-Urias- Strips. Far superior to my way of thinking. Maeda will also join Hill in long relief. Go Blue!!!

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