Nationals @ Dodgers July 25, 2022: Juan Soto starts in right (for Washington) as Dodgers open a new series

Tony Gonsolin. Photo by: Stacie Wheeler

Gotta get that sweet sweet SEO baybeee. The Dodgers completed their mega-sweep of the Giants yesterday to give them an eighth straight victory and their 19th win in the last 21 games. The Mets beat up on Joe Musgrove in the sixth inning last night, which gave the Dodgers an 11.5 game lead over the Padres in the NL West race. Seems good.

Today, the Dodgers welcome the Nationals to LA for three. The Nationals have 32 wins this season, the three less than the Oakland A’s for the fewest in the majors. Their run differential is -162, which is 44 runs worse than Oakland for the worst in the majors. They’ve lost 17 of their last 20 games, but Victor Robles did wear a clown nose to troll Madison Bumgarner, so things are looking up for them.

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7:10 PM Los Angeles
CF Robles RF Betts
2B C. Hernandez (S) SS T. Turner
RF Soto (L) 1B Freeman (L)
1B Bell (S) C Smith
DH Cruz DH Lamb (L)
LF Y. Hernandez (L) 3B Muncy (L)
SS Garcia (L) 2B Lux (L)
C Ruiz (S) CF Bellinger (L)
3B Adrianza (S) LF Thompson
P Espino (R) P Gonsolin (R)

Tony Gonsolin took his first loss of the season in his last appearance. Fortunately for his record, it was during the All-Star game and doesn’t actually count. He got shelled in his inning of work, as he allowed homers to Giancarlo Stanton and Byron Buxton for the three runs the AL would score on the night. Last time Gonsolin took the hill in a start that mattered, he also didn’t fare so well. He allowed five runs in five innings in St. Louis, four of which came in the third inning on a two-run single and a two-run dong by the unvaxxed stars Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado. After being shutout through six, the Dodgers put up seven runs in the final three innings to keep Gonsolin off the hook and somehow take the win. That start took Gonsolin’s ERA from 1.62 to 2.02, the first time since the very first start of the season that he’s been over 2.00.

Paolo Espino makes his eighth start and 28th appearance overall for the Nationals. Espino began the season in the bullpen and posted a 2.03 ERA in 20 appearances while holding opponents to a .574 OPS. He was moved into the rotation and hasn’t seen as much success as a starter, with a 4.88 ERA/5.65 FIP in 31 1/3 innings with opponents OPSing .860 against him. Espino has really struggled with the longball as a starter, as he’s allowed eight homers in seven starts (including three multi-homer games). The Dodgers saw Espino twice in relief back in May as he finished off two comfortable Dodger wins. He tossed two perfect innings on May 23 and allowed one hit in a scoreless frame on May 24.

Among pitchers with 50 or more innings pitched this season, Espino throws one of the lowest-velocity fastballs in baseball (88.6 average velocity, which is equal to that of old friend Rich Hill). Five of his 10 homers allowed this year have come on the fastball, which he throws 46.4 percent of the time. His fastball carries an xSLG of .574 and only has a 14.4 whiff percentage on it.

Jake Lamb hits fifth tonight, which is apparently a perfectly normal sentence in 2022. For the Nationals, old friend Keibert Ruiz catches and bats eighth while hopeful future friend Juan Soto starts in right and bats third.


Justin Turner could be back soon.

If Turner is feeling good coming out of today’s work, he could be back in the lineup tomorrow or in the finale on Wednesday.

Chris Taylor is also on the mend.

Taylor did some running today for the first time since leaving the game on July 4 with what was later found to be a fracture in his foot. He could go out on a rehab assignment next week.


Have I mentioned that I would like for the Dodgers to trade for Soto?

Setting the over/under for “Number Of ‘Future Dodger’ Chants” at 7.5.


First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM PT and will be shown on Sportsnet LA.

About 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.