Armed with the best record in the National League, the Dodgers will host the Washington Nationals for a four-game weekend set beginning on Thursday at Dodger Stadium.
Quality starting pitching has been synonymous with the Nats over the past few years, and although their performance has been mostly substandard this season, the marquee names on hand could still provide some sparkling matchups.
Currently, the Nationals are ranked second-to-last in the National League when it comes to overall pitching, just a few ticks ahead of the Rockies. Washington’s starting pitching is ranked right in the middle of the pack at eighth, but their bullpen has been horrific. The Nationals’ relief corps is ranked dead-last, having surrendered a whopping 75 earned runs over 105-1/3 innings of work.
It is fair to say, though, that the Washington bullpen is still quite beat-up. Hard-throwing righty Trevor Rosenthal remains on the 10-day injured list with a stomach malady that had spurred significant weight loss and muscle fatigue. Also on the shelf are righty Austen Williams and lefty specialist Tony Sipp.
In contrast, the Dodgers are ranked fifth in the NL in overall pitching. The Los Angeles starters are ranked fifth in the league while the relief crew is ranked 11th.
Offensively, the Nats have also been hampered by a handful of very untimely injuries. Ryan Zimmerman, Juan Soto, Trea Turner and Matt Adams are on the shelf with an assortment of maladies. Theoretically, Soto, who has been dealing with back spasms for more than a week, could be returning to the team as soon as Saturday.
The Nationals are currently ranked ninth in the NL as far as run production goes. Right fielder Adam Eaton leads the team with a .293 average and 43 hits while Soto is the team leader with 22 RBI. Anthony Rendon leads the club with six long balls.
With a whopping 214 runs scored, the Dodgers are far and away the best run-producing squad on the Senior Circuit, translating to an impressive 5.49 runs per game. After quite a bit of daylight, the Cubs are second in the NL with 196 runs scored.
Although it appears he may finally be simmering, Cody Bellinger still leads the league with a .394 average and 38 RBI. He’s second with 14 long balls, trailing Christian Yelich, who has 16 entering Thursday’s games.
Washington begins the series having lost four straight games and 12 of their last 16.
Starting pitching matchups are as follows:
Start times for both Thursday and Friday’s games are set for 7:10 PM Los Angeles time. Saturday’s first pitch is scheduled for 6:10 PM, and Sunday’s matinee will begin at 1:10 PM.