Nationals aim to continue winning trend, host Dodgers

Field Level Media

April 22, 2024 at 9:14 pm.

There’s a strange trend in place as the Los Angeles Dodgers and host Washington Nationals begin a three-game series Tuesday night.

It’s the Nationals who appear to be the hotter team, while the Dodgers will be looking for some answers at the beginning of a nine-game road trip.

While the Dodgers won 10-0 on Sunday against the New York Mets, that was the highlight of a 3-6 homestand. That includes a 1-2 mark against the Nationals last week, though Dodgers manager Dave Roberts preferred to emphasize the most recent game.

“It was the first complete baseball game that I can recall,” Roberts said. “Looking forward to enjoying this one and getting on the road.”

The Dodgers still seem to be a loose group despite their recent snags. Shohei Ohtani was joking Sunday about closing in on Roberts for the Dodgers’ franchise career lead in home runs by a Japanese-born player. Roberts, born in Okinawa, had seven in 302 games for the Dodgers. Ohtani has five after a blast Sunday.

“I want to break my manager’s record,” Ohtani said.

The Nationals, by winning three of their past four games, are just a game below .500 (10-11).

“Especially to do it two out of three in L.A. (against the Dodgers), and then two of three at home against the Houston Astros,” Washington third baseman Nick Senzel said. “Our expectation is to go out there and win every game. If not, we’ve got to take series. Hopefully, we can roll with this and take the momentum.”

Senzel hit his first home run of the year Sunday, becoming the 10th player on the team to hit one this season. Teammate CJ Abrams has been solid atop the Washington lineup, showing a power strike that has resulted in 13 extra-base hits across the 18 games he has played.

“He’s really understanding which balls he can drive,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “He’s doing better with that. The balls that he can drive, he’s not missing. He’s aggressive up there.”

Nationals left-hander Patrick Corbin (0-3, 8.06 ERA) will try to avenge a loss from a week earlier at Los Angeles, where he allowed five runs on nine hits in 6 1/3 innings. The Dodgers won the game 6-2.

Dodgers utility player Enrique Hernandez homered off Corbin for his only long ball of the season. Corbin is 5-13 with a 4.55 ERA in 26 career appearances (24 starts) against Los Angeles, marking the most losses to any team he has faced.

The starting pitcher for Los Angeles will be left-hander James Paxton (2-0, 2.81 ERA), who didn’t face the Nationals last week. He won his first two starts and then took a no-decision April 14 in his most recent appearance, when he walked eight San Diego batters in five innings.

Paxton, who has a disturbing walk-to-strikeout rate of 14-to-10 this season, has faced the Nationals only twice in his career. He posted a record of 0-1 with a 6.43 ERA in those matchups, giving up five runs in seven innings.

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