Dodgers @ Nationals – September 10, 2023: Let’s just get this series over with

There’s really no better way to put it than Bill Plunkett did last night.

With Saturday’s game ending at around 8:30 p.m. PT/11:30 p.m. ET, the Dodgers and Nationals have to turn around and play the series finale at 10:35 a.m. PT/1:35 p.m. ET. That’s just about 14 hours later. Through those two rain delays, the Dodgers have needed 9 1/3 innings from their bullpen with that split between seven pitchers. Considering the Dodgers don’t actually have a regular starter ready for this morning’s game, with Clayton Kershaw getting five days of rest before facing San Diego on Monday, Ryan Yarbrough will get his first start for Los Angeles after seven relief appearances since being traded from Kansas City.

Yarbrough threw 7 innings for the Royals in his last start for the team on July 30 which ended a stretch of five starts with at least 5 2/3 innings pitched. Since joining the Dodgers, Yarbrough has maxed out at 4 1/3 innings in his debut against the Padres on Aug. 5 while he’s maxed out at 16 batters faced on three occasions.

As for who will try to make up the 4 or so innings needed to close out the game after he starts (or the rain ruins his outing), here’s a look at the bullpen’s pitch counts over the past week.

Sunday, Sept. 3 Monday, Sept. 4Tuesday, Sept. 5Wednesday, Sept. 6Thursday, Sept. 7Friday, Sept. 8Saturday, Sept. 9
BrasierOff1 (14)1 (18)
FergusonOff1 (13)
GonzalezOff1 1/3 (20)1 (10)
Graterol1 (21)Off1 (14)
Miller1 (13)Off1 (12)
PhillipsOff1 (10)1 (11)
VarlandOff2 (33)2/3 (4)
VesiaOff1 2/3 (23)
YarbroughOff3 (59)

Caleb Ferguson seems like an obvious option to pitch today while everyone else has been used at least once in the past two days.


With just 21 games remaining over the next 22 days, the Dodgers enter Sunday still holding a 12-game lead on the D-backs and a 7-game lead on the Brewers. Despite the 3-6 stretch against Atlanta, Miami and Washington, little has really changed in the races that matters to the Dodgers. The final six series also come against San Diego (67-76), Seattle (79-63), Detroit (65-77), San Francisco (72-70), Colorado (51-90) and San Francisco again, so that 97-win total (on the high end) I estimated back at the trade deadline primer doesn’t seem too challenging as that’s just an 11-10 record the rest of the way.

Image Image
10:35 A.M. Washington D.C.
2B Betts CF Young
1B Freeman (L) RF Thomas
LF Peralta (L) DH Ruiz (S)
DH Muncy (L) 1B Menses
RF Heyward (L) SS Vargas (S)
3B Taylor 2B Chavis
CF Outman (L) C Millas (S)
SS Rojas 3B Kieboom
C Barnes LF Alu (L)
P Yarbrough (L) P Williams (R)

After the Dodgers worried Mookie Betts would need to miss all of this series in D.C. after fouling a ball off his foot in Miami, he’s actually back early rather than being stuck in IL limbo like J.D. Martinez spent weeks doing.

Otherwise it is pretty much as expected for a right-handed starter with five lefties in the lineup. Chris Taylor takes over at third with Max Muncy at DH as Martinez is off again after starting the past two games in Washington after returning from the IL. Unsurprisingly, Austin Barnes catches the early morning game after last night with Will Smith out of the lineup. Those moves give you David Peralta in the No. 3 spot for the sixth time this season with four of the five coming in August.


As Yarbrough will get the bulk of the innings, here’s how he compares to Trevor Williams.

IP73 1/31344 2/3
*As a Dodger.

Williams faced the Dodgers back at the end of May, allowing six runs on six hits and three walks in 5 innings of work. All six runs were unearned as an error in the 5th inning led to sacrifice fly for James Outman, a two-run double for Freddie Freeman and a three-run homer for J.D. Martinez. Williams’ lone appearance against the Dodgers in 2022 ended with two runs allowed on six hits across 5 innings, with a two-run home run for Trea Turner the only scoring. Williams has somewhat uncharacteristically struggled against right-handed batters in 2023 as his .910 OPS and .381 wOBA allowed are ahead of his numbers to lefties in 2023 (.848, .360) and his career totals to righties (.772, .328).

While we are all well aware of Lance Lynn‘s struggles with home runs in 2023, Williams is tied for third in the league with 33 allowed. That includes 20 off his fastball (12 by RHB, 8 by LHB), four against the change (all LHB), three apiece for the slider (all RHB) and curve (2 LHB, 1 RHB), two against his sinker and one on a sweeper. Seven of those home runs have came in Williams’ past four starts, with three by Philadelphia and three for Oakland.


As has been the case with the other two games in the series, who knows when the game will really start. Pending the weather, first pitch at Nationals Park is scheduled for 10:35 a.m. PT on SportsNet LA. However, the tarp was out as the lineups were.

Given the Dodgers have no day off tomorrow and jump right into a series against the Padres in Los Angeles, the trip back across the country could be late tonight.

About Cody Bashore

Cody Bashore is a lifelong Dodger fan originally from Carpinteria, California (about 80 miles north of Dodger Stadium along the coast). He left California to attend Northern Arizona University in 2011, and has lived in Arizona full-time since he graduated in 2014 with a journalism degree.