In case you haven’t been following the series closely—for whatever reason—a doubleheader is on the docket for Saturday, as the first game is scheduled for a 11:05 a.m. Los Angeles time first pitch while the second game is slated for a 5.05 p.m. start.
The Dodgers will stick to their original plan and send out Ross Stripling to start the early game while the Nationals counter with righty Tanner Roark. In the late game, Los Angeles will start veteran lefty while the Nationals will run out perennial Cy Young candidate Max Scherzer.
Alex Wood is still slated to start Sunday afternoon’s contest against Stephen Strasburg.
There’s still rain in the forecast, but while there is indeed a chance either game may be affected by the weather, there’s an equal chance that both games are played. Most of the precipitation on the radar is light, so it could be one of those long drawn out days where there’s a few lengthy delays mixed with game action. This weekend is the only occasion this year when the Dodgers are in D.C., so officials will likely do everything possible to assure both games get in the books.
“Pretty confident,” Roberts said about Saturday’s schedule. “Whether we have to delay a little bit the first game and make a long day even longer potentially, I think we’re confident we’ll get all three in this weekend.”
As much as the bullpen has been a hindrance for the Dodgers this year, a few reinforcements will be added to the relief crew on Saturday. Lefty Tony Cingrani is expected to be activated from the 10-day disabled list before the early game, and the team also anticipates adding newly acquired righty Erik Goeddel to the roster by way of the 26th man rule. Cingrani had been on the shelf with left shoulder inflammation while Goeddel was claimed off waivers from the Mariners on Friday.
While the Nationals may have a slight advantage in the starting pitching department, both teams have been hammered by injuries. Conceivably, the Nats may be a bit worse off than the Dodgers—at least in terms of position players—as regular catcher Matt Wieters recently underwent hamstring surgery, while other impact players like Daniel Murphy, Adam Eaton and Ryan Zimmerman still remain on the disabled list.
Another interesting note is the lineup that Roberts had compiled for Friday’s postponed game against Scherzer. Joc Pederson was inked in as the leadoff batter while Cody Bellinger was set to bat second and play center field, creating yet another completely different look the club hasn’t shown this year. Catcher Yasmani Grandal was penciled in to hit cleanup with utility man Max Muncy hitting fifth and playing first base. Veteran outfielder Matt Kemp, who leads the team in hitting with a .318 average, has struggled against Scherzer over the course of his career and was scheduled for a day off.
For what it’s worth, Roark, who has a career 3.41 ERA and a 3.85 FIP, is 0-1 against the Dodgers in three appearances, one of which was a start.
One thought on “Dodgers vs. Nationals: A Few More Relevant Series Notes”
I saw both games of that double-header yesterday. Stripling looked flat-out brilliant in the first game. Not only were all his pitches working, he finally broke out that 12/6 curveball which was his calling card when the Dodgers drafted him several years ago. If he continues to have that pitch in his arsenal as a starter, coaching staff might want to leave him in that rotation indefinitely. And that Muncy guy, my goodness! He’s beginning to look like that long-elusive “spark” the Dodger offense has sorely lacked since Day 1 this season. Was even more impressed with how he wasn’t intimidated going up against the NL’s best in Scherzer and even managed to knock in two key runs off of him in that second game. Roberts is gonna have to find creative ways of giving him more playing time because he’s sure as hell earning it right now. Nice debut from RHP Erik Goeddel whom the Dodgers took off Seattle’s hands just recently. His scoreless 8th set the stage for that dramatic Dodger comeback win capped off by Kemp’s 2-run go-ahead 2B in the 9th. Speaking of Kemp, Dodgers can go ahead and keep him through this year. He’s back and at the very least will more than make up for whatever offense the club would’ve lost with Corey Seager otherwise. Still wouldn’t mind going after Machado next month, though! I don’t see that one as a “rental” at all, to be honest…but again the club needs to be within a 4-game series of either the division lead or one of those WC spots for them to do so.