The Los Angeles Dodgers are in the nation’s capital tonight for game three of a three-game series with the Nationals. The Dodgers are looking for the sweep in the Sunday night baseball game of the week. The Dodgers took game one, 7-0, behind Alex Wood’s six shutout innings of work on the mound and Corey Seager’s three-run homer. Game two also went to the Dodgers, 3-2, powered by Cody Bellinger’s National League rookie record-tying 38th home run of the season. To complete the sweep tonight, the Dodgers will send Hyun-jin Ryu (5-7 3.59 ERA) to the bump. The Nationals will counter with a red-hot Steven Strasburg (13-4 2.64 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 5:08 PM PST from Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.
Los Angeles Dodgers at Washington Nationals
Hyun-jin Ryu (5-7 3.59 ERA) vs. Steven Strasburg (13-4 2.64 ERA)
Are the Dodgers good? Are they Great? Historically good? Overrated? All of those terms have been tossed around about the Dodgers in the last month. The Dodgers started the season on an absolute tear and were on pace to break the all-time wins record at one point late in the season. Many were touting this team as one of the best ever. Then September started, and the Dodgers forgot how to win.
The Dodgers lost eleven straight games, and many were wondering if this season was going to end as so many have over the years for the Dodger fateful, in disappointment. Now we sit just a week after that nasty losing streak ended and the Dodgers are poised to sweep what many consider to be the second-best team in the National League, the Washington Nationals. It’s hard to put your finger on just how good the Dodgers are right now heading into the playoffs. Are they closer to the team that lost eleven straight? Or are they closer to the team that many saw winning 110 games just a couple of weeks ago? As with most things, I think the answer probably lies somewhere in the middle. Whatever the case may be the boys in blue are going to have their hands full tonight against Washington starter Steven Strasburg.
To say that Steven Strasburg is hot would be quite the understatement. Strasburg has been great all season long, and his ERA of 2.64 is third best in the National League, but what he has done over his last four starts has been borderline historic. In his last four starts, Strasburg has pitched 29 innings and given up ZERO earned runs while striking out 34. More importantly for the Nationals? They have won each game. The Nationals are 19-6 in Strasburg’s 25 starts this season, when he pitches the Nats just win. In his lone start against these Dodgers this season, Strasburg went 6 innings and gave up only one earned run while striking out 8 in a hard-luck losing effort. To counter the on-fire Strasburg, the Dodgers will send out Hyun-jin Ryu.
Ryu had a pretty impressive streak of his own going recently. Ryu had nine consecutive starts where he gave up 3 earned runs or less before he got shelled for 6 runs against the Arizona Diamondbacks two starts ago on August 30th. Ryu has been a serviceable arm, especially when you consider the fact that he is the fifth or sixth starter in this rotation. You know your rotation is deep when the last guy on your staff has an ERA of 3.59.
This is a fantastic late season matchup that will likely be a preview of the National League Championship series. The Arizona Diamondbacks might have something to say about this, but for my money, I would be absolutely shocked if one of these teams isn’t representing the National League in the World Series this season. They are clearly the best two teams in the league.
It’s hard to nail down exactly which Dodger team is going to show up tonight in this one. Will it be the squad that took the first two games of this series? Or will it be the team that lost eleven out of twelve coming into this series? And even if the Dodgers play their A game can anyone slow down Steven Strasburg right now? I am going to say no. Strasburg is too good, the Nationals are at home with the National spotlight on them in the Sunday night game, and I expect them to take care of business in this one. The real question in the one is do we take the money line at -145 or the run line at +150. That is a nice big premium they are giving you on the run line, and it is very enticing. I think based on this very attractive price we are going to gamble a little bit and look for the Strasburg scoreless inning streak to continue and take that juicy run line. Give me the Nats tonight!
Today’s MLB Pick: Nationals -1.5 runs at +150