This past weekend, the Los Angeles Dodgers faced the Washington Nationals in what could be considered a potential preview of what is to come this October. That being said, the Dodgers left off as they did in 2016 with a series win of the Nationals, this time at home and against two of their best pitchers.
Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Jeremy Hellickson were the scheduled starters for this weekend’s series. Friday night was a historic night for baseball fans everywhere. Max Scherzer faced Clayton Kershaw and this marked only the TENTH time in baseball history that two pitchers with three Cy Young awards a piece have faced each other. The last time this happened was in 2006 when Roger Clemens faced Greg Maddux. Although most of us thought the game would be an absolute pitching duel, neither of the two pitched as well as everyone had hoped they would.
Kershaw went seven innings and only struck out four batters while surrendering four runs on nine hits. It wasn’t a pretty sight but Kersh battled the whole night trying to keep the Dodgers in the game. Unfortunately, Kershaw took the loss AGAIN and is now 1-3 on the year. Lots of “fans” are starting to make absurd claims such as, “We’Re WiTNesSiNG tHe DecLiNE oF ThE GrEaT.” These are the same fans who were saying that Kenley Jansen doesn’t have it anymore or that Cody Bellinger is a wash. What I’m trying to say is that these people don’t pay attention to the game and only pay attention to what they read on an Instagram page. Clayton Kershaw is going to be just fine and will end the season with more than ten wins.
Max Scherzer on the other hand might as well make another spot in his trophy case for a fourth Cy Young Award. He is now 4-1 and shows no signs of letting up. His ERA may not be as good as Kershaw but he definitely has the power and velocity to make up for it. The hard throwing right hander tossed six innings and struck out nine batters. It seemed like a win for the Dodgers to get to Scherzer early on in the game but it wouldn’t matter. The Dodgers only managed to score two runs and eventually took the loss, 5-2.
Saturday night’s game would turn out to be much different. A total of three Home Runs were hit as the Dodgers took the game 4-0. Joc Pederson celebrated his birthday with hitting his first Home Run of the season and bought himself two more weeks in the Major Leagues. I’m just playing around but Joc Pederson is just not cutting it out there. And calling up Andrew Toles is not the solution, neither is Alex Verdugo. In addition to Pederson’s Birthday, Saturday night was also Cody Bellinger Bobblehead night. Bellinger being the stud he is, blasted a 2-Run Home Run of his own. This would increase Bellinger’s Home Run total to three! Along with those two long balls, Kiké Hernandez hit another Home Run off of Stephen Strasburg.
It was a bright sight to see the Dodgers, who have underperformed this season, play like a World Series team against a legitimate competitor in the Washington Nationals. Although they lost to Scherzer, they came back the next night to blank the Nationals. The Dodgers managed to beat Stephen Strasburg which was a solid achievement.
When Sunday rolled around, Alex Wood and Jeremy Hellickson got the nod to see who would win the series. Hellickson kept the Dodger bats quiet for most of the game, he only allowed one hit before the sixth inning which was a double from Corey Seager. Alex Wood who has not had much success this season gave up three runs prior to the sixth inning. Two were the result of sacrifice flies and the other was tacked on by a Michael A. Taylor solo Home Run. Quickly, the game looked like it was going to slip away from the Dodgers.
Once the bottom half of the sixth inning got underway, Yasmani Grandal ripped a double down the right field line which scored two runs. Now the score was 3-2 and the Dodgers had a runner in scoring position waiting to tie up the game. Stepping up to the plate was 2017 National League Rookie Of The Year, Cody Bellinger. Sammy Solis was brought in to face Bellinger and now the Dodgers had an opportunity to take advantage of Washington’s awful bullpen. Then, Bellinger hit a fly ball to center field over the head of Michael A. Taylor, scoring Yasmani Grandal. Cody Bellinger came into second base head first on a close play that almost resulted in an out. Shortstop Trea Turner missed the tag after a lucky lunge to the base by Bellinger.
Corey Seager added the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning with a sacrifice fly. The score now 4-3 and a chance for Kenley Jansen to come in and redeem himself from past save attempts this season. Jansen came in the game in the top of the ninth inning and quickly gave up two singles. One to Matt Adams and one to Wilmer Difo. Jansen then struck out Andrew Stevenson and Trea Turner. The third and final out of the game was on a long fly ball that was hit by former Angel and former Dodger, Howie Kendrick. Luckily, Chris Taylor managed to track down the ball and record the out.
With this win, the Dodgers improved to .500 on the year. Like I’ve said, the Dodgers never perform that well in the month of April. Sitting at 10-10 on the year, the Dodgers will face the Miami Marlins and the San Francisco Giants to end the month of April.
Prior to Sunday night’s game, the Los Angeles Dodgers called up their number one prospect, Walker Buehler. Buehler will be filling in for Rich Hill while he is on disabled list for finger inflammation. This is an exciting call up and moment because this will the first Major League game that Walker Buehler will be starting in his career. Late last season Buehler was called up but was only used in the bullpen. Nonetheless, he showed lots of promise of an Ace that was developing. Buehler is only expected to make two starts, one against the Marlins tonight and one against the Giants this weekend. The plan is for Buehler to be sent down after Saturday’s game. The Dodgers are keeping Walker Buehler on a inning limit this season so they don’t overwork him as he has already had Tommy John surgery in his very young career.
As I stated above, the Dodgers will face the Miami Marlins for three games this week and will finish this week against the San Francisco Giants. The series against the Marlins should be a no brainer but anything can happen in baseball, just ask the Boston Red Sox. By the way, congratulations to Sean Manaea on No-Hitting the hottest team in baseball! Anyways, hopefully the Dodgers have fun with this series and carry the fun into the weekend against the Giants. On Saturday they will be playing a doubleheader which includes a makeup game for earlier this month when a rainout postponed a game in San Francisco.
Good luck Walker Buehler, this is a historic night for the long career ahead of you!