Nationals @ Dodgers April 21, 2018: Strasburg vs Ryu

Photo: Stacie Wheeler

The Dodgers saw their win streak snapped last night after Max Scherzer outdueled Clayton Kershaw. Both pitchers got themselves into sticky situations, and the Nationals’ offense was able to take advantage more often than the Dodgers’. The Nationals won the legendary pitching matchup, and at first glance it seems like they have a huge advantage in the second game of the series.

Nationals
Dodgers
6:10 PM
Los Angeles
SS
Turner
2B
Taylor
2B
Kendrick
SS
Seager
RF
Harper
C
Grandal
1B
Zimmerman
1B
Bellinger
LF
Sierra
CF
Pederson
C
Wieters
LF
Kemp
CF
Taylor RF Puig
3B
Difo
3B
Muncy
P
Strasburg (R)
P
Ryu (L)

Hyun-Jin Ryu makes his fourth start of the season tonight. After a rough first outing in Arizona, Ryu has been great in his last two outings. Against the A’s on April 10th, Ryu threw six innings of one-hit ball while walking one and striking out eight. On April 16th in San Diego, Ryu allowed two runs over six innings, but only allowed three hits and no walks while striking out nine. Ryu has only struck out more than 17 batters in a two-start stretch once in his career, when he struck out eight Mets and 12 Rockies in consecutive starts in April 2013.

The Dodgers lost both of Ryu’s starts against the Nationals last season. At Dodger Stadium, Ryu allowed four runs in seven innings as the Dodgers lost 4-2. In D.C., Ryu was pulled in the fifth inning at 98 pitches after walking two consecutive batters. Both runners were stranded and Ryu didn’t allow a run in the game, but the Dodgers lost 7-1.

Some interesting changes to the Dodger lineup. Chris Taylor makes his first start at second base since June 5, 2017. Joc Pederson gets the start in center with Matt Kemp in left, so outfield defense might be a bit of an issue tonight. Max Muncy gets his third straight start at third base.

One of the batters Ryu walked in the fifth inning in D.C. was Stephen Strasburg, who opposes him today as well. Through his first four starts, Strasburg has alternated between good outings and rough outings. He’s coming off a start against the Rockies where Strasburg allowed four runs in six innings and struck out only five, which is the lowest strikeout total he’s had in his last 13 starts (postseason included). His current 24.8 strikeout percentage is a career-low, despite being a top-30 K% among qualified major league starters.

In two starts (12 innings) against the Dodgers last season, Strasburg allowed three runs, only one of which was earned. That came on a Corey Seager home run in a scoreless pitchers’ duel against Kershaw last June. He struck out eight in each of his two starts against the Dodgers last season.

The Nationals run out the same exact lineup as last night, when they jumped on Kershaw early in the count.

——

Contrary to prior reports, it seems Justin Turner has yet to swing a bat.

On April 14, Plunkett tweeted that Turner had begun to take dry swings. He apparently has not, which gives Muncy more time to fully Wally Pipp Turner.

——

The mystery of Monday’s starter will be resolved tomorrow.

Dave Roberts went on to say that it wouldn’t be a bullpen game, so someone will be called up. Walker Buehler is scheduled to pitch tomorrow for Triple A-OKC. Brock Stewart last pitched on Wednesday, so he’d be lined up to throw Monday. I’d guess it’ll be one of those two.

——

Not Dodger related, but this is scary.

Thoughts are with Danny Farquhar, who fainted in the White Sox dugout last night.

——

Tonight’s game is the fourth of five games that KTLA agreed to simulcast, so it will be on for the masses to watch.

About Alex Campos

Alex Campos
I've been writing about the Dodgers since I graduated from Long Beach State, where I covered the Dirtbags in my senior year. I'm either very good or very bad at puns.