Washington Nationals At Dodgers Series Preview (6/20-6/22)
By Ricky Keeler
Stephen Strasburg (10-0, 2.90) vs. Clayton Kershaw (10-1, 1.58) – 10:10 p.m ET, broadcast on MASN2/ESPN
In Strasburg’s last start against the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday, he gave up a home run to Ben Zobrist to begin the game. After that, he put up a strong performance against a good lineup. He went seven innings, gave up one run on six hits, struck out eight, and walked one in a no-decision.
Despite getting a no-decision, Strasburg kept his undefeated record intact. His ERA is 3.72 and has allowed four home runs in three starts in June; he has 28 strikeouts to four walks in 19.1 innings. Plus, he is 5-0 with a 2.11 ERA in six starts away from Nats Park this season.
Against the Dodgers in his career, Strasburg is 1-0 with a 1.71 ERA in four starts, but he hasn’t faced Los Angeles since 2014. Adrian Gonzalez (.274, six home runs, 32 RBI’s) is 4-for-9 (.444) with a double and a RBI in his career against Strasburg.
Right now, Kershaw has to be the favorite to take home his fourth NL Cy Young Award and his third in the last four seasons. In his last start against the Diamondbacks on June 15, he went 7.1 innings, gave up two runs on five hits, struck out 11, and walked one in his tenth win of the season.
Kershaw’s unbeaten streak isn’t as long as Strasburg, but he hasn’t lost a game since April 26 against the Marlins (nine starts). The Dodgers ace leads the National League in strikeouts (133), innings pitched (108), and WHIP (0.66). His command has been impressive as he has only seven walks this season.
The Washington Nationals haven’t had much success against Kershaw. In 13 games (12 starts) against the Nats, he is 9-2 with a 2.19 ERA and has won seven straight outings (five runs in 54.2 innings pitched). Jayson Werth is 9-for-29 (..310) with two solo home runs against Kershaw.
Prediction: With the hot temperatures tonight in Los Angeles, the odds aren’t in favor for the Nats, who haven’t beaten Kershaw since 2010. This is a good test for Strasburg to go up against one of the best pitchers, if not the best pitcher in the game. I expect him to handle himself well, but the unbeaten streak will come to an end as the Dodgers take the opener in a low-scoring game.
Next: Tomorrow's Matchup