National League Preview from The Sports Network|
Sunday, July 21st
(All times Eastern)
Los Angeles Dodgers (49-47) at Washington Nationals (48-49), 1:35 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Los Angeles - Clayton Kershaw (8-6, 1.98)
Washington - Jordan Zimmermann (12-4, 2.58)
(Sports Network) - On June 21, the Los Angeles Dodgers were a season-worst 12
games under .500. There were rumors that Don Mattingly was fighting for his
job as manager of the team.
Things have certainly turned around since that time.
With 19 wins in their last 24 games the Dodgers have not only closed the gap
on the NL West-leading Arizona Diamondbacks -- they've nearly eliminated it.
The Dodgers have picked up nine games in the standings since being a season-
worst 9 1/2 games out of first place in the NL West on June 22. It's possible
the Dodgers could find themselves in first place in the division by the end of
Sunday, when they wrap a three-game series against the Washington Nationals.
Clayton Kershaw nearly went the distance the last time he faced the Nationals.
If he has a duplicate performance this afternoon, the Dodgers could complete a
three-game sweep in Washington and move a half-game ahead of Arizona, provided
the Diamondbacks lost at San Francisco later today. The Dodgers would then be
alone at the top of the division for the first time this season.
Kershaw had a three-start winning streak broken July 12 versus Colorado, but
the lefty has given up more than three runs only once in his last nine starts.
Kershaw, who tossed a scoreless third inning in Tuesday's All-Star Game, had
10 strikeouts in that game against the Rockies. He comes into today's game
leading the NL in ERA (1.98), opponents' batting average (.188) and ranks
second in the league in strikeouts (139).
Over his career versus the Nats, Kershaw has gone 4-2 with a 3.27 ERA in eight
games (seven starts). He fanned 11 over 8 2/3 scoreless innings in a 2-0
victory at Dodger Stadium on May 14.
Jordan Zimmermann had won four consecutive decisions over a seven-start span
until suffering a defeat in his final appearance prior to the All-Star break,
July 11 at Philadelphia. Zimmermann gave up eight hits and a pair of runs in 6
1/3 innings in the 3-1 loss.
Zimmermann has yet to lose at home this season, going 9-0 with a 1.75 ERA in
11 starts. He last suffered a loss at Nationals Park on May 17, 2012 versus
Pittsburgh. He's 14-0 over his last 22 starts at home.
The right-hander is 2-0 with a 4.12 ERA in three lifetime starts against the
Last night, Hanley Ramirez's RBI double in the 10th inning plated the go-ahead
run to lift the Dodgers to a 3-1 win.
Adrian Gonzalez opened the frame with a double then scored as Ramirez laced a
two-bagger off the wall in left-center field. After moving to third on Juan
Uribe's sacrifice bunt, Ramirez scored on Andre Ethier's sacrifice fly to
Ramirez finished the game 3-for-5 and Mark Ellis added an RBI single for Los
Angeles. Dodgers starter Zack Greinke allowed one run on seven hits over six
"We're playing good and it doesn't matter. I feel like we're going to win no
matter what the situation is," Greinke said. "That's how we've been playing."
Chris Withrow (1-0) worked a perfect ninth to earn the win and Kenley Jansen
retired the side in order in the 10th to pick up his 11th save.
Roger Bernadina drove in the Nationals' lone run with a pinch-hit single in
Washington starter Gio Gonzalez scattered four hits and struck out 11 over six
Craig Stammen (5-5) was pegged with the loss after giving up the go-ahead run
in the 10th while recording one out.
"I'm pretty sure these guys are going to wake up and swing the bat," Gonzalez
said of his team's struggling offense that has scored three runs thus far in
this series. "They're going to do their job as a hitting team. You can't hold
this team down for long."
The Dodgers have won 10 of the last 13 meetings.
07/21 10:22:57 ET