Dodgers @ Nationals July 27, 2019: Kershaw day against an Opener

The Dodgers won yesterday, which is undoubtably good. How they got there may not have been the best (sort of shut down by Anibal Sanchez, Kenley Jansen forgot how to throw strikes), but a win is a win. A great poet once said “it doesn’t matter if you win by an inch or a mile, winning is winning”. The Dodgers did that for the 68th time this season yesterday, and are looking for their nicest win of the season today.

Dodgers
Nationals
1:05 p.m.
Washington D.C.
LF
Verdugo
SS
Turner
3B
Turner
RF
Eaton
CF
Pollock
3B
Rendon
RF
Bellinger
LF
Soto
2B
Muncy
1B
Kendrick
SS
Seager
2B
Dozier
C
Smith CF Robles
1B
Pederson
C
Gomes
P
Kershaw (L)
P
Grace (L)

Clayton Kershaw makes his 18th start of the season tonight and is coming off arguably his best start of the season (at least by game score). Sure, it was against the Marlins, but Kershaw allowed two hits and no runs over six innings and struck out a season-high 10 batters. He’s been dominant in his three July starts, allowing two earned runs in 19 innings with 26 strikeouts and only four walks. This was coming off back-to-back four run starts to end June, so perhaps Kershaw isn’t fully washed just yet. Kershaw has the sixth-best walk rate among qualified starters (4.3 percent), but is still behind two Dodger starters on that list. Perhaps the Dodgers are good.

A bit of a surprise for the Nationals, who were originally slated to start Joe Ross today. Instead, reliever Matt Grace will start as the Nationals will use an opener for the first time. As noted Pokemon champion Daniel Brim said on Twitter, this is weird.

Grace and his 6.23 ERA/1.462 WHIP will start against the Dodgers. It’s unclear if Ross will follow, but for a team with bullpen issues (must be a terrible thing for their fans smh), willingly using more relievers is a bit odd. Grace is a lefty, but lefties still own a .290/.319/.377 slash against Grace. Not a ton of extra base hits, but he’s far from a lefty killer. Grace has completed two or more innings five times this season and has maxed out at 42 pitches thrown. He last pitched Thursday against the Rockies.

To counter the opener, Alex Verdugo hits leadoff today and Joc Pederson hits eighth. A.J. Pollock hits third and Will Smith starts behind the plate, as he seemingly will do on a more regular basis going forward.

——

The Dodgers will have an extra reliever for the time being, and will need to find a starter for Tuesday in Colorado.

Ross Stripling won’t throw a bullpen today or tomorrow, so he’s been placed on the IL with biceps tendinitis. Jaime Schultz has been called up for the second time this season. Schultz allowed a hit and two walks in three scoreless innings in his first Dodger stint in April.

Another IL move might be coming soon.

Enrique Hernandez was removed from the finale against the Angels with a hand or wrist injury. He’ll probably miss some time, but it’s doubtful that top prospect Gavin Lux will be the replacement.

Confusing as to why they’re waiting so long to IL him and are willingly playing with a short bench, but he’ll be on the IL sometime in the near future. It doesn’t make sense to bring up Lux if he’s not going to play every day, so he likely won’t be the replacement for Hernandez.

——

The first reliever piece is off the board.

Jake Diekman, who the Dodgers were attached to, is headed to Oakland.

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.