Major League Baseball
Preview
Washington at LA Dodgers
When: 10:10 PM ET, Friday, April 20, 2018
Where: Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Washington Nationals entered the season as the favorites to win the National League pennant, but the first month hasn't exactly followed the script for either club. However, both teams have started to pick up the pace in the last week and will try to reach the .500 mark Friday when the Nationals visit the Dodgers for the start of a three-game set.

Los Angeles (8-9) stumbled out of the gates with only four victories for its worst 13-game start in 24 years behind a mostly lethargic offense, but the bats have been red-hot during a four-game winning streak during which the club is averaging 9.3 runs. The Dodgers began their surge by ending their 11-game skid against Arizona in convincing fashion Sunday before outscoring San Diego 30-10 over the next three days to sweep the Padres on the road. Washington (9-10) scored 29 runs while opening the season with four straight victories before totaling 27 runs while dropping eight of its next 10. However, the Nationals have tallied at least five runs in each of their last five contests, although they missed out on a road series sweep of the NL East-leading New York Mets on Wednesday when they surrendered nine runs in the eighth inning of an 11-5 defeat.

TV: 10:10 p.m. ET, MASN 2 (Washington), SportsNet LA (Los Angeles)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Nationals RH Max Scherzer (3-1, 1.33 ERA) vs. Dodgers LH Clayton Kershaw (1-2, 1.73)

Scherzer was named the NL Player of the Week for his dominant efforts last week, including a 11-strikeout performance against Colorado on Saturday in which the only hit he allowed over seven innings was a two-run homer. The three-time Cy Young Award winner was even stingier five days earlier versus Atlanta, yielding two hits and fanning 10 en route to his fifth career shutout. Matt Kemp is 6-for-46 with 14 strikeouts against Scherzer, who gave an unearned run in seven frames to beat the Dodgers in his only start against them last season.

Kershaw finally got the run support he had been lacking and earned his first victory in a 12-strikeout performance Sunday against Arizona, giving up only a solo homer among the two hits he allowed over seven innings. The seven-time All-Star, who will pitch on regular rest despite moving up a day to fill in for the injured Rich Hill, has yielded a total of two earned runs over 13 frames at home. Bryce Harper is 1-for-18 with 12 strikeouts against Kershaw, who is 11-2 with a 1.97 ERA in 15 appearances (14 starts) against Washington.

WALK-OFFS

1. Dodgers C Yasmani Grandal, who is in the middle of an eight-game hitting streak, went 5-for-15 with three doubles, a homer, eight RBIs and no strikeouts during the sweep of the Padres.

2. Nationals 3B Anthony Rendon has missed the last five games with a toe injury, but the team is hopeful he will be ready in time for the opener.

3. Kemp finished 5-for-9 with two home runs and six RBIs in the last series against San Diego.

PREDICTION: Dodgers 2, Nationals 1
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Washington 9-10 L1 3-7 6-3 5-7 3-0 1-3 0-0
LA Dodgers 8-9 W4 4-5 4-4 0-0 0-0 7-8 1-1
Last Meeting
Washington LA Dodgers
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
9/17/17 LAD 1 WAS 7 .250 3 .914 .125 0 .368
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Washington N/A
LA Dodgers N/A
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Washington M. Adams 0 0 0
LA Dodgers S. Alexander 0 0 0
Pitching ERA Avg K
Washington 0.00 .000 0
LA Dodgers 0.00 .000 0
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Washington H. Kendrick .302 19 .825
LA Dodgers Y. Grandal .352 19 1.047
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Washington B. Harper 8 18 18
LA Dodgers C. Taylor 3 12 8
Pitching ERA Avg K
Washington 4.19 .235 203
LA Dodgers 3.72 .250 187