Right when it looked like the Dodgers were in a position to add another series sweep to their 2019 portfolio, the Nationals showed up ready to play in the finale on Sunday, ultimately dominating the Dodgers in all aspects of play.
Former Los Angeles infielder Brian Dozier provided several of the many offensive fireworks for Washington, going 2-for-3 with a walk, a double, a long ball and two RBI. His two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth inning put the Nats out in front after the Dodgers led the entire first half of the game behind the pitching of righty starter Walker Buehler.
When the smoke cleared and the game finally ended, the Nationals walked away with an 11-4 victory. Nonetheless, the Dodgers still collected the series victory. Additionally, Los Angeles secured the season series win after splitting a four-game set at Chavez Ravine back in May and swiping two games from the Nats this weekend.
Regardless, the hero of the day for Washington was starter Stephen Strasburg. The 31-year-old right-hander threw an even 100 pitches over seven full innings, allowing just one earned run on two hits and no walks. He struck out nine Los Angeles batters and improved his record to 14-4.
Despite his success through the first four innings, Buehler began fading after Dozier’s fifth inning jack. Later that same inning, Anthony Rendon grounded a single to center that drove in Victor Robles, putting the Nats out in front, 3-1.
Buehler cracked at the seams in the sixth frame when his counterpart Strasburg lined a single to right field, scoring another former Dodger Howie Kendrick and stretching the Washington lead to three. One batter later, first baseman Joc Pederson threw a ball away that resulted in three earned runs. To add insult to injury, two batters later, Pederson couldn’t quite get to a pop-up in shallow right off the bat of Rendon, which resulted in another run. At the end of the sixth, the Nats were up 7-1 and seemingly had the game in hand.
Pederson’s throwing error was the Dodgers’ 20th error in their past 13 games. Collectively, these miscues have led to 14 unearned runs over the past 10 games. With defense once being one of the squad’s most valued strengths, Los Angeles now leads the entire National League with 77 errors.
Buehler’s final line was 5-1/3 innings pitched with seven runs (four earned) surrendered on eight hits and three very uncharacteristic walks. He struck out six.
Washington tacked on another four runs in the eight inning, highlighted by a Juan Soto two-run homer into the left-center field stands. All four eighth-inning runs were charged to Los Angeles reliever Jaime Schultz, who was recalled earlier in the weekend when swing man Ross Stripling was placed on the injured list.
The Dodgers will now catch a plane to Denver, where they’ll prepare for a three-game set against division rival Colorado beginning on Monday.
The 2019 trade deadline is just three short days away.