Washington Nationals vs. Dodgers Preview (7/19-7/21)

Jul 16, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner (10) hits an RBI single in the third inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 16, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner (10) hits an RBI single in the third inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports /
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Washington Nationals
Jul 10, 2016; New York City, NY, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez (47) pitches during the first inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports /

Bud Norris (5-7, 4.17) vs. Gio Gonzalez (5-8, 4.70) – 7:05 p.m, MASN2

Tomorrow’s start was supposed to go to Hyun-Jin Ryu (0-1, 11.57 ERA), who was going to make his second start since returning from left shoulder surgery. However, this afternoon, the Dodgers placed Ryu on the 15-day disabled list because of tendinitis in his left elbow:

Norris started the season with the Braves before being traded to the Dodgers on June 30. He is 2-0 with a 3.50 ERA in three starts since joining Los Angeles. In his last start on July 15 against the Diamondbacks, Norris went five innings, gave up four runs on eight hits, and struck out five in a win.

When he was with the Braves, Norris made his first two starts of the season against the Washington Nationals. He ended up losing both of those starts as he gave up eight runs in 12 innings of work. Stephen Drew is 9-for-25 against him with three doubles, a triple, a home run, and four RBI’s.

If the start before the All-Star Break was any indication, Gonzalez might be turning a corner. Against the Mets on July 8, Gonzalez went 5.2 innings, gave up two runs on four hits, struck out three, and walked four in a win. Other than the two Jose Reyes home runs, Gonzalez did enough to get the win.

Gonzalez ended his first half winning two of his last three starts, but he continues to put too many runners on base. He has walked three or more batters in five of his last six starts. The Washington Nationals are hoping that in the second half, Gonzalez looks more like the pitcher who had a 1.42 ERA in four starts back in April.

In four career starts against the Dodgers, Gonzalez is 2-1 with a 1.73 ERA and has not lost against Los Angeles since 2012. Howie Kendrick, who is hitting .412 in July, is 5-for-21 against Gonzalez with a double and two RBI’s in his career.

Prediction: Since Norris has only given up more than three runs in a game once in his last eight starts, this one might be tougher for the Nats to score runs. With that being said, if Gonzalez can have a similar outing to the one he had against the Mets, I like the Nats to find a way to win their first game of the series.

Next: Thursday's Matchup