After late-game heroics from Justin Turner and Will Smith sparking a rout the following day, the Los Angeles Dodgers enter Sunday in position to complete a three-game sweep of the Washington Nationals.
The Dodgers are an MLB-best 20-7 in day games this season, 18-5 against the National League East, and have swept 10 series this year. Saturday’s victory guaranteed the Dodgers have not lost a season series to the Nationals since 2014.
Their final meeting in 2019 — with the exception of a potential postseason matchup — pits electric right-handers Walker Buehler and Stephen Strasburg against one another.
Buehler is coming off seven shutout innings and 11 strikeouts against the Miami Marlins. He’s 9-1 with a 3.23 ERA and hasn’t suffered a loss in his last 10 outings.
The stretch does not include Buehler’s May 11 start against the Nationals, when he had seven strikeouts and allowed just four hits over seven scoreless innings. Buehler takes the mound on his 25th birthday.
Dominant as Buehler has been of late, so too has Strasburg. The Nationals have won his six consecutive starts, which is the longest of his career since becoming a fixture in their rotation in 2012.
When the 31-year-old pitched at Dodger Stadium in May, he limited the Dodgers to just two runs on four hits in six innings but took a loss. Strasburg 2-5 with a 2.67 ERA and 0.98 WHIP in 10 career starts against the Dodgers.
Justin Turner has enjoyed plenty of success in those matchups, batting .364 with two home runs and five RBI. A.J. Pollock has also fared well, hitting .625 with one home run and three RBI in eight at-bats.
Although yet to face Strasburg, Will Smith is coming off a career performance. He became the first rookie catcher in L.A. franchise history with six RBI — breaking Mike Piazza’s record of five (twice done in 1993). Smith, Bernie Hungling and Al Lopez are the only Dodgers rookie catchers with six RBI in game.
1B: Joc Pederson
2B: Max Muncy
3B: Justin Turner
RF: Cody Bellinger
CF: A.J. Pollock
SS: Corey Seager
C: Will Smith
LF: Matt Beaty
P: Walker Buehler
SS: Trea Turner
RF: Adam Eaton
3B: Anthony Rendon
LF: Juan Soto
1B: Matt Adams
C: Kurt Suzuki
CF: Gerardo Parra
2B: Brian Dozier
P: Stephen Strasburg