No matter who the team is, coming off of a three-game sweep of a team has to fee great. It’s even more special when you are a team that has struggled. For the Los Angeles Dodgers, the sweep over San Diego could not have come at a better time.
Coming into that series the Dodgers were a lowly 5-9 and were sitting at the bottom of the National League West. Looking forward to this series with Washington seemed to be a daunting task. But they came back in a big way, scoring 30 runs in the three-game series. That confidence will carry over to a series with a very good Nationals team.
Clayton Kershaw will square off against Max Scherzer on Friday night in a battle of the aces. The two have combined to win six Cy Young awards and have consistently been the two best pitchers in the National League. Both have carried that dominance into 2018, with earned run averages below two and both with at least 30 strikeouts. This one should be a heck of a pitcher’s duel.
Bryce Harper is 2-for-23 with 14 strikeouts against Clayton Kershaw. Since Harper's debut, Kershaw has faced the Nats 9 times, and gone 9-0 with a 0.92 ERA.
— Joe Davis (@Joe_Davis) April 20, 2018
Hyun-jin Ryu will face off against Stephen Strasburg on Saturday to follow. Both have had a series of on and off games, but Strasburg has certainly demonstrated his dominance in the past. Alex Wood and Jeremy Hellickson will finish up the series Sunday evening. Wood is coming off of a terrific outing against San Diego, in which he tossed 5.1 and allowed one earned run striking out seven.
Players to Watch
Bryce Harper has been crushing the ball early in his contract year. He has already homered eight times with a 1.183 OPS. Versus right-handed pitching, Harper is hitting 326 with six home runs. He will be a threat all weekend long.
Yasmani Grandal has continued to hit and be the most consistent producer of the Dodgers’ lineup. He has driven in thirteen runs and his 1.046 OPS is phenomenal. If he carries this offensive explosion to the Washington series, the Nats are in for some trouble.
This series will be very important for obvious reasons. Sweeping San Diego was great, but it’s hard to overlook how the Dodgers have performed against great teams this year. A series win would truly give them the confidence they need to carry through the season.
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