Washington Nationals Analysis: Second Half Preview

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Jul 9, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Zack Greinke (21) works against the Philadelphia Phillies in the second inning at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Dodgers

The first three games out of the break are not going to be a walk in the park for the injured Washington lineup, as the Nats are set to face the NL West division leaders, Los Angeles Dodgers (51-39). Manager Don Mattingly has already released the expected starters for the series, sending out Clayton Kershaw (6-6, 2.85 ERA), Mike Bolsinger (4-3, 3.08), and Zack Greinke (8-2, 1.39) for the three game set. The Nationals announced today that they will send Jordan Zimmermann to the mound Friday, Doug Fister Saturday, and Max Scherzer on Sunday.

Kershaw and Greinke make for one of the most formidable one-two punches in all of baseball. As the reigning NL Cy Young-winner and MVP, Clayton Kershaw is still the best pitcher on the planet, even if his numbers are down a little bit. Greinke, on the other hand, being a former Cy Young winner himself, is having the best season of his career. He entered the All-Star Break with the lowest ERA by any player since World War II.

With Matt Kemp long gone, the Dodgers’ lineup has searched elsewhere for run production, and boy, have they found it. The fourth-highest scoring offense in the National League sports stars such as Yasiel Puig (.261/.343/.429), Adrian Gonzalez (.283/.355/.520), and Justin Turner (.308/.377/.538). The story of the year for Los Angeles, however, has been 23-year old center field phenom Joc Pederson (.230/.364/.487), who leads all MLB rookies with 20 home runs and is third in RBI’s with 40.

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