Preview: Joc Pederson Returns To Dodgers Lineup In Series Opener Against Nationals
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

After dropping two of three to the Arizona Diamondbacks in their first series coming out of the All-Star break, the Los Angeles Dodgers now travel to Washington to take on the Nationals in a three-game set.

Veteran lefty Scott Kazmir takes the mound Tuesday and looks to extend his career success in July. Since 2010, Kazmir has not lost a game during this calendar month, going 8-0 with a 1.63 ERA in 17 starts.

The 32-year-old is 5-0 with a 3.88 ERA since May 14, with 70 strikeouts over 60.1 innings pitched during that span. Overall, Kazmir is 7-3 with a 4.52 ERA, 4.39 FIP and 1.32 WHIP.

His 9.8 strikeouts per nine innings is his highest rate since 2008. Kazmir faced the Nationals on June 21 and allowed two runs on eight hits and two runs in six innings of work. He didn’t earn a decision, though the Dodgers pulled out a 3-2 victory.

The veteran southpaw is opposed by Nationals hard-throwing right-hander Reynaldo Lopez, who makes his Major League. The 22-year-old went 4-5 with a 3.19 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 109 strikeouts and 31 walks in 16 starts this season split between Double-A and Triple-A.

Lopez faces a Dodgers team that boasts three of the National League’s top 10 hitters since June 14. Howie Kendrick ranks sixth with .354 batting average, Corey Seager is eighth (.336) and Justin Turner ninth (.333). Seager is not in the Dodgers lineup Tuesday as he was sent back to the team hotel with a stomach virus. Chris Taylor gets a spot start at shortstop in his place.

Since being traded to the Dodgers Taylor is batting .320/.370/.640 with a home runs and six RBIs. Friday in Arizona he finished a single shy of the cycle while also slugging a grand slam in the 13-7 win.

Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson makes his return and bats sixth after missing a time with a shoulder injury suffered while running into a wall at Miller Park. In more roster news, Luis Avilan was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Since being recalled on July 10, Nationals second baseman Trea Turner is 3-for-15 with a stolen base. He bats leadoff in Dusty Baker’s lineup. The Dodgers swept the Nationals in a three-game set earlier this season at Dodger Stadium, and have won five straight games in their head-to-head matchup.

Dodgers lineup:

2B: Chase Utley
LF: Howie Kendrick
3B: Justin Turner
1B: Adrian Gonzalez
C: Yasmani Grandal
CF: Joc Pederson
RF: Yasiel Puig
SS: Chris Taylor
P: Scott Kazmir

Nationals lineup:

2B: Trea Turner
CF: Ben Revere
3B: Daniel Murphy
RF: Bryce Harper
LF: Jayson Werth
1B: Clint Robinson
SS: Danny Espinosa
C: Jose Lobaton
P: Reynaldo Lopez