Dodgers @ Nationals May 19, 2018: Stripling vs. Roark for Game 1

(Via)

The Dodgers (17-26) won their first game in a week on Thursday to stave off a sweep by the Marlins. Next up is a three-game series in Washington D.C. against the Nationals (24-18) who are not the Padres, Reds or Marlins. Unfortunately that East Coast weather postponed the Dodgers’ impending 119-0 run, forcing them to schedule a split doubleheader for Saturday.

Dodgers
Nationals
11:05 a.m.
Washington D.C.
LF
Pederson
SS
Turner
CF
Bellinger
RF
Harper
3B
Turner
3B
Rendon
C
Grandal
1B
Adams
RF
Kemp
LF
Kendrick
1B
Muncy
CF
Taylor
SS
Taylor 2B Difo
2B
Forsythe
C
Kieboom
P
Stripling (R)
P
Roark (R)

It’s been more than just frustrating to watch the Dodgers’ downward spiral. It’s also annoying. Baseball is supposed to be an escape, and instead I feel as though I need an escape from baseball. They haven’t been able to best some of the worst teams in the league, so it would make sense that they would also have trouble with the stronger clubs like the Nats. Since we know by now that baseball doesn’t always work that way, I’m standing by for an offensive explosion off Max Scherzer and company.

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Ross Stripling (0-1, 2.20 ERA, 2.83 FIP) makes his fourth start this year, but he’s still looking for his first win on the season. He’s pitched commendably in both starting and relief roles, slotting into the rotation after Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Rich Hill all landed on the disabled list with various injuries. He’s only allowed two runs on 10 hits in his last two starts against the Padres and Reds, but the bullpen (Tony Cingrani and JT Chargois) came into blow those games unfortunately.

Last time out, Chicken Strip was stretched to 79 pitches, the most he’s thrown in a game since 2016. Overall against the Nats, he’s 0-1 with a 21.60 ERA (!). Not good, but that’s in only two career relief appearances (1 2/3 innings over a two-game stretch in September last year). Ryan Zimmerman has homered against Stripling in the past, but he’s never faced Bryce Harper.

Future Dodger, Harper, has the second-most home runs in baseball (13). Manny Machado, another possible future Dodger, and Mookie Betts have hit 14 homers, the most in the majors. Harper, the former MVP, has the most walks (41) in the NL, and he has the ninth-best OPS (.931). The good news for the Dodgers is that Harper’s hot start to the season has slowed down quite a bit since mid-April. He’s hitting .171/.209/.439/.648 in the last two weeks, bringing his season line down to .232/.396/.535/.931. He’s still a threat. His .192 BABIP, 124 points lower than his career numbers, points to a breakout to come.

The Dodgers will not face Scherzer in the opener. Tanner Roark (2-2, 3.33 ERA, 4.27 FIP) gets the ball for Game 1 of the doubleheader with Max taking the mound for Game 2. Roark is 0-1 with a 3.48 ERA in three career regular-season games (one start) against the Dodgers. The last time the Dodgers faced him was Game 2 of the 2016 NLDS. He allowed two runs on seven hits with one strikeout and three walks in 4 1/3 innings. The Nats went on to win 5-2. Matt Kemp has six hits including two home runs in 18 at-bats against Roark.

——

After Turner’s heroics in Thursday’s victory, it just goes to show you how valuable he is to the Dodgers. You have to wonder what their record would be if they had their crimson-haired slugger for the first 42 games. Kenta Maeda‘s eight-inning gem can’t be overlooked either. The offense and pitching finally synched up. The Marlins aren’t the Nationals, but a win is a win nevertheless. Dustin says they’re done, but I’m not ready to accept that yet. Now if they can get a couple more wins against Washington, we can start talking about a real turnaround.

About Stacie Wheeler

Stacie Wheeler
Stacie Wheeler, born and raised in So Cal, has been writing about the Dodgers since 2010. She wrote daily as the co-editor of Lasorda's Lair for five long years, and she has also written for Dodgers Nation and Dodger Blue 1958. She currently contributes to The Hardball Times. Stacie graduated from the University Of Southern California with a bachelor's degree in Cinema-Television. You can also watch her videos on her YouTube channel, DishingUpTheDodgers.