Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw faces ailing Nationals

MLB Baseball

With two key contributors potentially out of Washington’s lineup, Clayton Kershaw seemingly has a good chance to continue his success against the banged-up Nationals and keep the Los Angeles Dodgers rolling.

Kershaw looks to help the visiting Dodgers match a season high with their eighth consecutive victory on Saturday night against the Nationals.

Trying to win at least 10 games for the first time since 2019, Kershaw (9-7, 3.25 ERA) has been solid of late, posting a 2.08 ERA with 38 strikeouts and four walks while splitting his past four starts. He allowed a solo homer, three other hits and struck out a season-high 13 over eight innings of Sunday’s 7-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs.

“It’s fun to watch him do what he does,” teammate Zach McKinstry said on the Dodgers’ official website. “I mean, he’s one of the greats. … He’s a great baseball player, great competitor.

Kershaw allowed five hits and struck out six without a walk over six innings of a 3-0 victory over Washington on April 11 to improve to 14-4 with a 2.62 ERA in 20 career regular and postseason starts against the team.

Washington’s Kyle Schwarber and Trea Turner are a combined 14-for-31 all-time against Kershaw. However, Turner could miss a third consecutive game with a finger issue while Schwarber suffered an apparent right-hamstring injury during Friday’s 10-5 loss to the Dodgers.

Schwarber was scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday morning.

They are the two latest in a series of injuries for Washington, which has dropped the first two of this four-game set after closing June on a sizzling 14-3 stretch.

“I don’t feel like we have an injury bug. We have an injury rat running around the clubhouse,” joked Nationals star Max Scherzer, who allowed a run and struck out eight over six innings on Friday.

Washington has been outscored 29-12 while losing all five meetings this season with the Dodgers, who used a nine-run seventh inning to rally for a seventh straight victory Friday.

Los Angeles, which won eight straight games from April 9-17 and from May 17-25, might not even be hitting its stride as some in the clubhouse see things.

“I don’t think this team has gotten anywhere close to its full potential,” infielder Max Muncy, who is batting .300 with 11 RBIs during a six-game hitting streak, told the Dodgers’ website.

“When we finally do get there, watch out. It’s going to be fun to watch this team.”

The Dodgers are set to get their first look at scheduled Washington starter Paolo Espino (2-2, 2.02 ERA) on Saturday. Making another spot start, the right-hander allowed five hits without a walk over five scoreless innings of an 8-4 win against the New York Mets on Monday.

Washington’s Juan Soto is batting .348 in his past 13 home games.

Los Angeles’ Justin Turner, who hit his 13th homer and had two other hits on Friday, is 10-for-18 against the Nationals this season.

–Field Level Media

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