Washington Nationals 2020 Season Preview: Los Angeles Dodgers

After being upset in the NLDS, the Dodgers World Series title drought continues. Will 2020 finally be the year?

The Rundown

After losing in the World Series two years in a row, 2019 seemed to be the Dodgers year. They ran away with the NL West and finished the season with 106 wins. With a two-one series lead in the NLDS, everything seemed to be looking up. Instead, they blew the series lead and were eliminated after melting down in game five. To make matters worse, the Dodgers struck out on all the big names in free agency. Anthony Rendon went to their in state rivals, the Angels, Stephen Strasburg re-signed with the Nationals, and Gerrit Cole signed with the highest bidder, the New York Yankees. Currently the Dodgers have balked at trading for the top trade targets such as Kris Bryant, Nolan Arenado, Mookie Betts, and Fransisco Lindor. This is surprising due to the fact the Dodgers have one of the top farm systems in baseball. Team president Andrew Friedman has been known for refusing to trade from his always stacked farm system.

Instead, the team looks to be graduating some of the top talent such as Gavin Lux, Dustin May, and Tony Gonsolin in 2020. All three will help bolster the teams depth and continue the Dodgers streak of consecutive NL West titles. With the departure of Ryu, keep an eye on Dustin May. May is the Dodgers top pitching prospect and will be leaned on to help ease the pain of losing Ryu. May made his MLB debut at the end of last season. In 34 2/3 innings pitched, May went 2-3 with an ERA of 3.63, four holds, a blown save, and 32 strikeouts. May primarily pitched out of the bullpen, but he will be trying out for one of the rotations last spots. The 22 year old could be a difference maker in the rotation.

LAD 2019 record:106-56

Washington’s record vs. the Dodgers: 3-4

LA added/re-signed: Jimmy Nelson, Blake Treinen, Alex Wood,

LA lost: Russell Martin, Rich Hill, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Jedd Gyorko, David Freese

Nationals to Watch

Howie Kendrick hit the two biggest postseason home runs in franchise history. The first of the two was a grand slam off of Joe Kelly in game five of the 2019 NLDS. Kendrick’s late inning heroics led his team to the NLCS for the first time in franchise history. The fact that Kendrick used to play for the Dodgers was just icing on the cake.

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With Rendon gone, Kendrick will need to step up and help protect Juan Soto in the lineup. The 36 year old is coming off a solid season where he hit .344, with 17 homers, and 62 RBI’s in 121 games. Despite coming through in the clutch in the NLDS, Kendrick has struggled against the Dodgers in his career. Against the Dodgers current pitchers, he is hitting a measly .222 with 13 strikeouts and an OPS of .484 in 63 at bats. Washington will need to show they can beat the best team in the NL in order to make it back to October. Having Kendrick turn around the narrative that the Dodgers own him will go a long way to helping the Nationals win the season series.

2020 Series Prediction

April 10-12 @ LA

April 21-23 in D.C.

The Dodgers return almost the same roster from last season while the Nationals lost their best offensive player in Rendon.

Series Prediction: LA wins season series 4-2

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