Washington Nationals: 5 to watch at Dodger Stadium

Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /
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Washington Nationals
Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports /

Gio Gonzalez

Gonzalez will look to shake off a bad month of May (4.37 ERA in six starts) when he makes his first June start tonight in Dodger Stadium. While he got the win on Tuesday against the Giants, he wasn’t at his best. He went 6.1 innings, gave up three runs on eight hits, struck out six, and walked three on 108 pitches.

The big issue for Gonzalez this season has been the walks. He has 35 walks this year, which is the most of any National League pitcher. Plus, he has walked three or more hitters in nine consecutive games. You can get by with three walks against San Francisco, but the Dodgers have a much better lineup.

Last year, the Dodgers struggled mightily against left-handed pitchers. This year, it’s been a little better as they’ve hit .247 (eighth in the NL) with 19 home runs (tied for fourth). One reason for that is the play of infielders Logan Forsythe and Chris Taylor (both hitting over .400).

While Gonzalez hasn’t lost against the Dodgers since 2012, his start in the postseason last year wasn’t good. He didn’t make it out of the fifth inning and gave up three runs on 83 pitches. Forsythe is 4-for-6 against him with a pair of RBI’s in his career.

This start tonight will be key for the Washington Nationals because it could go a long way in deciding who wins the series. The team has won four straight series openers and has yet to be swept in any series this season. Plus, with Kershaw looming later in the series, any win you can get against Los Angeles without him on the mound is one you have to get.