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Washington Nationals (78-58) at Los Angeles Dodgers (77-61)
Tuesday, September 02 - 10:10 PM EST
Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California
After turning Dodger Stadium into their own launching pad in the series opener, the Washington Nationals face a tougher test Tuesday against Los Angeles ace Clayton Kershaw. The Nationals have blasted 14 home runs over their last four games, including four in Monday’s 6-4 victory that pushed their lead over Atlanta in the National League East to seven games. Leadoff hitter Dee Gordon is mired in a 0-for-18 slump for Los Angeles, whose lead over San Francisco is down to two games.
Gordon isn’t the only player struggling for the Dodgers, who moved outfielder Yasiel Puig to sixth in the batting order Monday. Puig went 0-for-3 and has two hits in his last 30 at-bats for Los Angeles, who added an extra player to their crowded outfield Monday with the promotion of top prospect Joc Pederson from Triple-A Albuquerque. Washington center fielder Denard Span is hitless in five career at-bats against Kershaw, but enters the contest with three home runs in his last five games.
TV: 10:10 p.m. ET, ESPN, MASN2 (Washington), SportsNet LA (Los Angeles)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Nationals RH Doug Fister (12-5, 2.55 ERA) vs. Dodgers LH Clayton Kershaw (16-3, 1.73)
Fister suffered back-to-back losses for the first time this season Wednesday as he allowed five runs (four earned) on a season-high 10 hits over 5 2/3 innings against Philadelphia. The former Fresno State star has yielded four home runs over his last two starts after allowing 11 in his first 18 outings. Fister, who is making his first career start against Los Angeles, owns a 2.15 ERA over the past three September/Octobers.
Kershaw has recorded at least 10 strikeouts in three consecutive starts, including Wednesday when he held Arizona to one unearned run over eight innings. The two-time Cy Young award winner has pitched at least seven innings and allowed three runs or fewer while striking out at least six batters in 13 consecutive starts. Kershaw is 6-2 with a 2.79 ERA in 10 career games (nine starts) against the Nationals, including seven shutout innings May 6.
1. Washington 1B Adam LaRoche exited Monday’s game with a tight lower back and is listed as day-to-day.
2. Dodgers OF Carl Crawford is 23-for-53 (.434) lifetime against Washington.
3. The Nationals are 0-7-1 in their last eight series at Dodger Stadium.
PREDICTION: Dodgers 3, Nationals 1