Washington Nationals Rapid Reaction: Clayton Kershaw Silences Nats Offense

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Jul 18, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper (34) reacts after striking out to end the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday was a mixed day of results for the Washington Nationals. On the one hand, they were able to complete their suspended game from Friday night and get a 5-3 win. But, on the other hand, the following game would result in Clayton Kershaw having his best performance of the season and looking like the pitcher that won both the Cy Young and the MVP a season ago.

Before we touch on Saturday’s originally scheduled game, let’s first touch on the suspended game, one in which the Nationals entered yesterday leading by a score of 3-2. Even though Adrian Gonzalez would hit his second home run of the game two batters in to the contest, the Nats still found a way to get a win that they needed given the pitchers they will face over the next few days.

After good performances from Aaron Barrett and Casey Janssen out of the bullpen, the Nats bench came through in the clutch. Matt den Dekker, who was hitting for Janssen, crushed a two-run homer into the upper deck to give Washington a 5-3 lead. While Drew Storen got into trouble in the ninth, he still was able to strike out Joc Pederson to end the game.

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In the second game of the day, the Nats could not manage any offense against Kershaw, who struck out a season high 14 batters and gave up only three hits. Bryce Harper had a tough day against Kershaw, going 0-for-3 with three strikeouts. Harper would homer against Kenley Janssen in the bottom of the ninth, but it was too late.

As for Doug Fister, he only gave up one run through the first four innings against a solid Dodgers’ lineup, but Los Angeles was hitting the ball hard against him. Finally, the Dodgers were able to put up the crooked inning against him as they scored three runs in the third to take a 4-0 lead and they would not look back. However, give credit to Taylor Jordan (who was the 26th man) and Sammy Solis for shutting out the Dodgers over the final four innings.

Before today’s epic showdown between Zack Greinke and Max Scherzer (1:35 PM ET, MASN, WUSA9, and TBS), here are my takeaways from yesterday’s 4-2 loss:

Next: Doug Fister's Struggles Continue