Dodgers @ Nationals July 26, 2019: Back to the East Coast

The Dodgers (67-37) left Anaheim with two more games in the loss column. Now they return to the East Coast for a three-game series in Washington D.C. to take on the Nationals (55-47). Then they’ll wrap up the month of July at Coors Field. The Dodgers set out to get back to their winning ways on this road trip all with the trade deadline looming. Things should get interesting.

Dodgers
Nationals
4:05 p.m.
Washington D.C.
1B
Pederson
SS
Turner
LF
Verdugo
RF
Eaton
3B
Turner
3B
Rendon
RF
Bellinger
LF
Soto
2B
Muncy
1B
Kendrick
CF
Pollock
C
Suzuki
SS
Seager 2B Dozier
C
Martin
CF
Robles
P
Ryu (L)
P
Sanchez (R)

Hyun-Jin Ryu (11-2, 1.76 ERA, 2.85 FIP) makes his 20th start of the season on two extra days of rest. The All-Star southpaw pitched eight shutout innings of one-hit ball with nine strikeouts and one walk on 116 pitches when he faced the Nationals at Dodger Stadium on May 12. He’s pitched well against the Nats in his career and is 2-1 with a 1.35 ERA and 0.713 WHIP in four starts (26.2 IP) against them. His only start at Nationals Park was in September 2017. He only lasted 4.2 innings but didn’t allow a run on three hits in the 7-1 Dodger loss.

Ryu leads the majors in ERA (1.76), BB/9 (1.02) and K/BB (8.00) among qualified starters. I remember when he was essentially written off by many after going down with the shoulder injury. It’s incredible that he’s where he is today after going through such a serious surgery plus a major groin injury. Never underestimate Monster.

Veteran right-hander Anibal Sanchez (6-6, 3.80 ERA, 4.73 FIP) takes the mound for the Nats in the series opener Friday evening. The Dodgers shut out Sanchez and the Nats on May 10 at Dodger Stadium. He allowed three runs on six hits in 4.1 innings. Sanchez has improved since then. He’s lowered his ERA almost a point and a half and has struck out 40 batters while only walking 13 in that span.

Sanchez is 1-3 with a 3.89 ERA and 1.250 WHIP in eight career starts (44 IP) vs. the Dodgers. At Dodger Stadium, he’s 1-1 with a 2.61 ERA and 1.306 WHIP in four career starts (20.2 IP). Left-handed hitters are slugging nearly .500 and OPSing .833 against him this year. Joc Pederson is 4-for-11 with two doubles and two home runs vs. Sanchez.

Pederson starts at first base, leading off. The original lineup had Smith starting behind the plate, but it was quickly updated with Russell Martin in the eight-spot instead. Martin has caught 16 of Ryu’s starts, and Ryu has a 1.64 ERA with Russ as his battery mate this season.

——

The Dodgers made a trade and some roster moves on Thursday.

They acquired Tyler White from the Houston Astros for right-handed MiLB reliever Andre Scrubb. Dustin wrote some words on the transaction yesterday.

David Freese has been so clutch this season (1.050 OPS with RISP), so his injury is unfortunate. But the trade for White also makes a lot more sense now.

They also swapped catchers, optioning Austin Barnes to Triple-A Oklahoma City and recalling Will Smith. Barnes has struggled mightily at the plate, slashing .196/.288/.328/.616 with 26 extra-base hits in 204 at-bats.

Meanwhile, Smith has proven he belongs in the majors during his time in AAA (.269/.381/.605/.956 with 20 home runs in 223 AB). He also played in nine games with the big club this season and immediately made an impression. The 24-year-old hit three home runs in 26 at-bats, including a walk-off homer during the rookie walk-off weekend last month.

——

Washington is 4.5 games back of the Braves (60-43) in the NL East and currently has a Wild Card spot. The Dodgers are firmly entrenched in the top spot in the NL West and are 14.5 games up, but they shouldn’t let this road trip get out of hand.

Here’s to good weather, good defense and a slew of Dodger dongs.

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, Dodger Blue 1958 and The Hardball Times. She currently contributes to True Blue LA. 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.