The Dodgers were baseball’s hottest team entering the All-Star break and there was the fear that time off would mess up their hot play.
However, it looks like the break just re-energized the team as they beat up the Nationals and completed the three-game sweep.
All three facets of the team: bullpen, lineup and the starting rotation were completely on point as they outscored the Nats 15-5 and pulled within 1/2 game of first place.
Here is a recap of the three games from D.C.:
Friday, Dodgers win 3-2
In the series preview against the Nationals, Andre Ethier was highlighted as a key to the Dodgers success as Matt Kemp was going to be activated, but the question remained how effective he would be.
Ricky Nolasco was effective in his third start and while didn’t have his best stuff, he tiptoed around several instances of RISP and limited the damage to just two runs over 5.1 innings.
Yasiel Puig continued to struggle as he went 0-4, but did throw out Bryce Harper at third to only have the umpire call him safe. Harper would go on to score on a wild pitch uncorked by Nolasco and gave the Nats a 1-0 lead.
Hanley Ramirez continued his torrid hitting as he crushed a two-run opposite field home run off Nats flame thrower Stephen Strasburg to give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead.
In the ninth, with the score tied 2-2, Ethier golfed a solo home run off Nationals closer Rafael Soriano and Kenley Jansen closed the door as the Dodgers won their first game back from the break, 3-2.
Saturday, Dodgers win 3-1
Zack Greinke was fresh off his two best starts as a member of the Dodgers and was seeking his 100th career victory, but for the second consecutive night it was the battle of the bullpen.
Scoreless until the sixth inning, pinch hitter Roger Bernadina stroked a broken-bat single to right to cash in Chad Tracy and gave the Nationals a 1-0 lead.
However, in the very next half inning, Mark Ellis tied the game after pinch hitter Skip Schumaker stroked a two-out double.
For the second consecutive night, the Dodgers bullpen didn’t allow a run as youngsters Chris Withrow and Jose Dominguez were forced into crucial spots.
With the game tied into the 10th inning, Adrian Gonzalez lead off the inning with a double to be driven home by Ramirez, who had another three-hit performance.
After a Juan Uribe sac-bunt, Ethier provided the insurance run needed and made it 3-1 Dodgers. Jansen came on in the ninth to pick up his second consecutive game and the Dodgers moved to within 0.5 game deficit in the division.
Sunday, Dodgers win 9-2
After two close games, the Dodgers didn’t want to leave any doubt on Sunday as they exploded for seven runs in the second inning with ace Clayton Kershaw on the mound.
Matt Kemp returned and promptly had three hits, including a solo home run and an RBI single and double. Ramirez kept pace with the “Bison” and hit a three-run jack to extend the lead to 6-0.
Kershaw was unhittable Sunday as he allowed just two hits, which were two solo home runs to Nationals right fielder Jayson Werth.
The game was so out of hand that Brandon League pitched for the first time since July 11 and only gave up two hits in two innings of work.
While the sweep was completed and the Dodgers are 20-5 in their last 25 games, the only negative was Kemp left the game with what is being called a sprained ankle, but hopes to avoid the DL.
The Dodgers head north of the border for a three-game set with the Toronto Blue Jays as they made up two games in the standings and now sit a 1/2 game behind the Diamondbacks.