Two of the best pitchers start this series off this afternoon, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Clayton Kershaw takes on Max Scherzer in the second of two Cy Youngs facing off against each other today. With Kershaw certainly en route to another Cy Young and potentially his second MVP before a herniated disc sidelined him for most of the summer. In his return, he has been just as good as advertised minus going the full distance. But that’s not to knock Scherzer’s performance this year as he led the National League in strikeouts and had the lowest WHIP as well. Scherzer has solidified himself as the ace of the Nationals with Stephen Strasburg being shut down earlier in the year due to an elbow issue and he looks to get the Nationals off to a strong start with today’s start. As we look at the rest of the rotation for these teams, the Dodgers feature newly acquired Rich Hill, who has been fantastic when he does pitch. Kenta Maeda who has come over from Japan and hasn’t seemed to miss a beat pitching against some of the best hitters in the world. That leaves rookie sensation Julio Urias to round out the rotation for Los Angelese, and that’s some pressure that’s been placed upon the 19-year old kid. The Nationals will send Tanner Roark to the mound in game two, and all he’s done this year is have the most games where he’s pitched 7 innings and given up 0n earned runs. Following him will be Gio Gonzalez and despite not being the same pitcher he was 3-4 years ago, he’ll give the Dodgers’ fits as they struggled mightily against left handed pitching this year. It looks like their fourth start will be Joe Ross who has recently come off the disabled list and wasn’t able to go farther than the fourth inning in his return.
The Dodgers are led by rookie shortstop Corey Seager who had an MVP caliber type season batting .308 with 27 home runs and playing exceptional defense at an elite position. With Adrian Gonzalez having an off year, and not much else around the Dodgers it almost seems impossible that the Dodgers are here in this situation. Not to mention the long list of injuries that seems only second to the Mets at this point. The addition of Josh Reddick hasn’t made quite the impact they were hoping he was going to, as well as Yasiel Puig being sent down to AAA in order to find himself as a baseball player once again. The Nationals are led by some analysts MVP Daniel Murphy, who after his amazing postseason from a year ago with the Mets, took his talents to Washington to help right the boat. Murphy was second in the majors in batting at .347 while driving in 104 runs with 25 home runs. He has led the Washington offense throughout the whole year as Bryce Harper has slumped since the beginning of May and has fought off injury rumors throughout 2016. The impact of Trea Turner has been hard to categorize. With a power surge most didn’t expect, Turner has taken the league by storm since his call up in July. He finished the season with a .342 average and seemingly took the place of Harper in the second half of the season. The loss of Wilson Ramos has a bigger impact on this team as he had a career year on the offensive side and maintained a good relationship with the rotation throughout the year. His loss could impact this series as Jose Lobaton will replace defensively, but leaves the Nationals looking for a legitimate third bat in the order for Dodgers pitchers to fear.
I’m taking the Nationals in 4 as I like their offense a bit more despite losing Ramos as well as their rotation with Hill missing multiple starts due to blister issues and the Dodgers relying on a 19-year old in a potential make or break game.