Washington Nationals vs. Dodgers Preview (7/19-7/21)
Scott Kazmir (7-3, 4.52 ERA) vs. Reynaldo Lopez (MLB Debut) – 7:05 p.m ET, broadcast on MASN2
Before the All-Star Break, Kazmir’s last start against the Padres was a short one. On July 8, Kazmir went three innings, gave up three runs on six hits, struck out five, and walked three in a no-decision.
While the 32-year-old hasn’t gone further than six innings in each of his last ten starts, he has allowed more than three runs in two of those games. Against the Rockies on July 2, he threw six shutout innings and struck out ten in a win.
Kazmir, who hasn’t lost since May 9, faced the Washington Nationals on June 21. He went six innings, gave up two solo home runs on eight hits, struck out four, and walked one in a no-decision. Jayson Werth is 5-for-7 against Kazmir with a solo home run.
Tonight, the Washington Nationals will have another one of their top pitching prospects make his Major League debut in Reynaldo Lopez. The 22-year-old right-hander is 4-5 with a 3.19 ERA in 16 combined starts at double-A Harrisburg and triple-A Syracuse.
When you look at Lopez’s numbers in the minors, his strikeout numbers stand out the most. He has 109 K’s in 87.1 innings and has four double-digit strikeout games this year (two games with 13 K’s).
Lopez’s fastball can reach into the 100 mph range as we saw in the Futures Game in San Diego on July 10. He also has a changeup and curveball in his pitch arsenal. Lopez hasn’t pitched in an actual game since July 5 for Syracuse, so it will be interesting to see how much rust he has in this game.
Prediction: The interesting thing to watch in this game is can the Washington Nationals take advantage of early scoring opportunities against Kazmir if his control is off. Keep in mind, while Kazmir has a 5.40 road ERA, teams are still only hitting .204 (.267 at home). Washington had a day off after the 18-inning game, so the bullpen should be ready for Lopez. I think he will have a strong debut, but I’ll take the Dodgers to win a close game.
Next: Tomorrow's Matchup