Los Angeles Dodgers Vs. Washington Nationals: Lineups, preview, & prediction (May 18, 2018)
One team is on the way up, the other is floundering in a surprising slump. Who will take game one?
The Dodgers head to Washington after finally snapping their losing streak. They were swept by the Reds at home and then lost the first two in Miami before winning 7-0 last night. The return of Justin Turner to the lineup has helped the Dodgers offense, he had three hits and five RBI in this game while Kenta Maeda went eight scoreless innings allowing two hits and registering eight strikeouts.
Washington’s two-game series in New York was disrupted by weather. They were 3-3 in the fifth when the rain game on Tuesday, and then Wednesday’s game never got started. The result is that the Nationals will send Max Scherzer to the mound tonight on an extra days rest.
Ross Stripling (RHP) Vs. Max Scherzer (RHP)
Stripling’s move into the starting rotation began poorly with a four-inning, four-run game against the Diamondbacks, but over the last two starts he has been pretty strong. He’s only averaging 4.1 innings per start as he gets stretched out, making this more likely to be a bullpen game than anything. However, he’s posted a 1.93 ERA in the last two games and struck out 12 in 9.1 innings. He can get the job done.
Unfortunately, Stripling’s opponent is the run-away NL Cy Young leader right now. Scherzer has a 7-1 record with a 1.69 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, and 91 strikeouts. Over his three starts in May Scherzer has a 1.83 ERA with a ridiculous 34 strikeouts in 19.2 innings. In other words, he’s pretty great.
|Dodgers Lineup||Home Runs||Batting Average||On-Base Percentage|
|Nationals Lineup||Home Runs||Batting Average||On-Base Percentage|
Who’s hot, who’s not
Justin Turner’s return to the lineup has been a welcome relief to Dodgers fans, because with him and Corey Seager out they had been struggling. Matt Kemp is the only person other than Turner to be hitting over .300 in the last two weeks (.306), while the likes of Yasmani Grandal and Joc Pederson are below the Mendoza line. The only people with multiple homers in the last two weeks are Grandal (3), Bellinger (2), and Yasiel Puig (2).
The disruption the Nationals schedule could well ripple through the lineup, but right now they are playing reasonably well. Pedro Severino and Howie Kendrick are the only guys hitting over .300 in the last two weeks that have seen any reasonable at-bats, but the power has been there up and down the lineup. Matt Adams and Trea Turner have four homers in the last two weeks, Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon have three, and Mark Reynolds has a pair of bombs in just six at-bats.
There is no way you can pick against Scherzer right now. Even with Turner playing and the Nationals rhythm being off, there is no way I can pick Ross Stripling and the Dodgers bullpen to out do a lineup brimming with home run power and the best pitcher in the National League. This should be a comfortable Washington win.