Washington Nationals Series Preview: Nats at Dodgers (8/10-8/12)

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Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Zimmermann (8-7, 3.44) vs. Clayton Kershaw (9-6, 2.51) – 10:10 PM ET, MASN

 Last Friday night, Nationals’ fans saw Jordan Zimmermann take the mound and put up one of his best performances of the season. In 6.2 innings, Zimmermann gave up one run on four hits, struck out six, and walked none on 106 pitches. He would have got the win if Drew Storen had not given up a grand slam to Carlos Gonzalez in the top of the eighth.

It’s just been more bad luck for Zimmermann, who has not won a game since July 11 vs. the Orioles (five starts). Since the All-Star Break, the 29-year-old right-hander is 0-2 with a 4.25 ERA, and has 24 strikeouts to five walks in 29.2 innings.

Zimmermann did make one start against the Dodgers on July 17 that got cut short due to faulty lights. He went four innings, gave up two runs on three hits, struck out three, walked one, and gave up a solo shot to Adrian Gonzalez. Plus, Zimmermann has been bad on the road this season. He has a 4.95 ERA in ten road starts this season with opponents hitting .320 against him (4-3, 2.44 ERA, .234 BAA at home).

Against the Dodgers, Zimmermann is 2-1 with a 5.00 ERA in seven career outings. Jimmy Rollins (.222, 11 HR, 35 RBI’s) is 8-for-35 against him with two home runs and five RBI’s.

As for Clayton Kershaw, he had his 37 straight scoreless inning streak snapped in his last start against the Pirates on Friday. In that game, Kershaw went six innings, gave up four runs on nine hits, struck out five, and walked two in a no-decision.

After fans were concerned about Kershaw’s slow start, the 27-year-old left-hander is 3-0 with a 1.16 ERA in his last four starts, has 37 strikeouts to three walks, and has held opposing hitters to a .160 batting average. That stretch of great games started with his outing against the Nationals on July 18.

In that game, Kershaw went eight innings, gave up no runs on three hits, struck out 14 batters, and he did not walk anyone on 101 pitches. In 12 games (11 starts) against the Nats, he is 8-2 with a 2.31 ERA and has not been beaten by Washington since 2010. Jayson Werth is 9-for-26 against Kershaw with two home runs and two RBI’s.

Advantage: While Zimmermann looked better in his last start, it will be a tall order for him to go up against Kershaw, who doesn’t usually put together two bad starts in a row. While Kershaw won’t strike out 14 Nats this time with some of the regulars now back, I expect the Dodgers to win this game and take two out of three in this series.

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