The Los Angeles Dodgers need a win Tuesday night to avoid losing their first series against the Washington Nationals since the 2016 National League Division Series. Los Angeles faces a tall order as reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer takes the mound.
In 11 starts this season, Scherzer is 6-3 with a 2.56 ERA, 3.00 FIP and 0.89 WHIP while striking out an NL-leading 100 batters. He’s issued just 18 walks over 77.1 innings.
The 32-year-old has fared well on the road this season, going 4-1 with a 2.27 ERA in six starts. In 10 career regular season games against Los Angeles, Scherzer is 2-4 with a 3.29 ERA. He faced them twice in the postseason last year, and yielded a 3.75 ERA in 12 innings, with the Dodgers winning both games.
Opposing Scherzer is right-hander Brandon McCarthy. This is McCarthy’s 10th start of the season, and he enters 5-2 with a 3.38 ERA, 3.05 FIP and 1.16 WHIP. McCarthy has 47 strikeouts and 13 walks in 50.2 innings.
He’s is unbeaten in five home starts this season, going 3-0 with a 2.89 ERA. McCarthy hasn’t faced the Nationals much throughout his career, but does own a 1.80 ERA in 15 innings pitched.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he does not anticipate McCarthy’s blister to be an issue in the start. It cut his previous outing to just four innings.
Chris Taylor has solidified himself as an everyday player for the Dodgers all the while successfully adjusting to playing plenty of center field in Joc Pederson’s absence.
Taylor is second on the team with a .316 batting average to go along with a .409 on-base percentage and .541 slugging percentage. He has hit seven home runs and drove in 24 runs in 43 big league games.
Cody Bellinger is in the midst of a quiet five-game hitting streak. That’s in part to Bellinger batting a lowly 184/.268/.408 in his past 14 games. Overall, he’s hitting .257/.329/.569 and leads the Dodgers with 12 home runs and 31 RBIs.
McCarthy will have the challenge in facing a Nationals lineup that has three of the NL’s top eight hitters. Ryan Zimmerman is leading the NL in batting average (.372), home runs (16) and RBIs (48). Zimmerman is sandwiched between two lefties, Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy, batting cleanup in Dusty Baker’s lineup.
Harper, the 2015 NL MVP, looks to be returning to that form after a rough 2016 season. He’s batting .322/.438/.639 with 15 home runs and 44 RBIs, and snapped an 0-for-15 skid Monday night with an RBI single.
Murphy is also having an outstanding campaign after finishing second in the NL MVP race in 2016. He is batting .333/.386/.562 with 10 home runs and 40 RBIs.
2B: Chase Utley
SS: Corey Seager
C: Yasmani Grandal
1B: Adrian Gonzalez
LF: Cody Bellinger
CF: Chris Taylor
3B: Logan Forsythe
RF: Yasiel Puig
P: Brandon McCarthy
SS: Trea Turner
LF: Brian Goodwin
RF: Bryce Harper
1B: Ryan Zimmerman
2B: Daniel Murphy
3B: Anthony Rendon
C: Matt Wieters
CF: Michael Taylor
P: Max Scherzer