Pitching Duel Goes To The Nationals

Clayton Kershaw Opening Day

The battle of Goliaths as Max Scherzer took on Clayton Kershaw.  You figure runs will be at a premium. The Nationals attacked Kershaw on the first pitch and used to bunt game with their speedsters to get things moving. Trea Turner led the game off with a Double. Bryce Harper then singled him in and the score was 1-0.

Ryan Zimmerman then hit a double scoring Harper and the Nats led 2-0 just like that. Chris Taylor led off the first inning with a triple.  Corey Seager was then hit by a pitch and you figured the Dodgers had something going. Yasmani Grandal then popped out. Cody Bellinger struck out and Joc Pederson struck out. Once again no run support for Kershaw. The Dodgers don’t move runners over or cash them in.

In the second inning, Yasiel Puig put a charge into one but it was caught against the wall by Michael A Taylor. That was a total bummer of momentum. In the bottom of the third, the Dodgers had two men on with one out and Grandal hit into a double play. In the top of the fifth, Michael A Taylor hit a double to start the inning. Scherzer then hit a single which totally hurt. Trea Turner the burner then hit a bunt single to score a run. In the bottom of the fifth, Chris Taylor hit a double only to be stranded.

In the top of the 6th, Ryan Zimmerman and Matt Wieters both singled. Taylor would eventually single one in to make the score 4-0. In the bottom of the 6th, the Dodgers got on the board. Joc Pederson walked followed by a Chase Utley single. Yasiel Puig then singled to make the score 4-1. In the bottom of the 7th, Austin Barnes reached on a single. Chris Taylor then walked. Yasmani singled in a run to make the score 4-2. Bellinger then struck out followed by a Matt Kemp ground out.

The Dodgers had some mojo. Then Pedro Baez came in and the mojo came to a halt. Baez walked three guys and gave up a hit and the Nats take a 5-2 lead. That was game set match. The Dodgers had their opportunities. The Dodgers 4 game win streak is over. Kershaw (1-3) gave up four runs and nine hits in seven innings while striking out a season-low four against no walks. Scherzer (4-1) struck out nine and walked a season-high three. Tomorrow Ryu will go up against Stephen Strasburg.

James Moya

James Moya

Hi I’m James Moya. I am an avid Dodgers fan. I graduated Cal State Fullerton with a Bachelors in Communications. I used to freelance at the San Bernardino Sun. I’m excited about this opportunity to write for LA Dodger Report to gain experience. I’m a straight shooter on my opinions and I hope to get some good conversations going. My dream has always been to report on the Dodgers because Baseball is the National Past-time. I hope you enjoy the ride with me.

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62 thoughts on “Pitching Duel Goes To The Nationals

  1. A couple of things James….first off you cannot hit into a DP with 2 outs no matter how hard you try, there was one out. Matt Barnes was a basketball player, Austin Barnes is a Dodger. That being said, this so called duel was over by the 5th inning. The Nats got 3 hits in an inning 3 times off Kershaw who had not had one inning like that in any of his starts. Taylor was the only one who really solved Scherzer, and the rest of the team did not. The Nats had their worst relievers come in the game after Scherzer left and they got 1 run off those guys. That’s pretty weak. Another thing that surprised me is that I was not all that upset they lost….same old offense….none. This is not last years team by a long shot. They can still win the series if Ryu and Wood are nails the next 2 games, but Strasburg is no pushover. The Nats have more injured starters out than we do so Turner’s absence is no excuse.

    1. Completely agree on every count.

      The need for an editor.

      The fact that if the team doesn’t hit, they won’t win. This isn’t the Yankees of Clemens, Pettite, Mussina.

  2. Dodger bats AWOL. Starting Pederson in place of Kemp doesn’t help. Too much reliance on Kershaw is not healthy for a team. I said before the game that the bats will win this or not. It was winnable, but no support from the bats.

    Of course, Kershaw did not help things. He did not pitch well and is looking very vulnerable this season. No one can be an ace year after year after year. The wear and tear begins to show up. He’s still a great pitcher, but not as sterling as in the past.

    1. Kemp has terrible numbers against Scherzer…so Joc started mainly because he homered off of Scherzer in the playoffs a couple of years ago.

  3. Why is Toles on the DL? What happened? It seems like every time he begins to excel he hurts himself. Is this another walking wounded acquisition by FAZ. It will definitely color my expectations of Toles as a player who will be reliable and that should be included in the future mix. The same thing for Rich Hill. At his age, the killer is health. FAZ should know and understand the histories of these players and how they impact the team overall. Yet, they gave Hill a big contract!

    1. He has some leg problems Jeff. I think but am not sure his hammy went out on him again. He is definitely injury prone, much like Puig was a couple of years ago. With all the injury’s I think he probably slips behind Verdugo on the ol depth chart. Trust me Jeff they know all about Hill’s ills. They also know that at his age he does not have a ton of innings on that arm so they took a shot. Hill at 38 only has 761 MLB innings under his belt. Kershaw at 30 has 1968. More than twice what Hill has. FAZ’s free agent history is that he goes with the walking wounded a lot. Kazmir, McCarthy, Anderson, Hill, all his big free agents have that history. Even some of his other pick ups have had those problems too. Chargois has had his pitching growth stunted by numerous problems when he was with the Twinkies. He is healthy right now, but might be a breakdown waiting to happen. Even Buehler was injured when they drafted him. He missed all of 2015, pitched all of 10 innings in 2016. But he is only 23 and seems to be fully recovered. So far though he has started 3 games at OKC and logged exactly 13 innings. They are being very careful with him. Now last year two guys made huge differences for the team. Taylor and Bellinger. There is no one at AAA besides Verdugo who even comes close to those two. Is he going to come up and ignite the team? Not likely. He is a line drive gap kind of guy, not very flashy at all. Taylor has heated up a little as has Corey, but no one on this team is close to providing the kind of power they got up and down the lineup. Cody has 2 dingers, Taylor, Kemp and Grandal 3 Corey has 1. He needs to find his power stroke which has been missing since last September when his elbow was hurt. I think he is still having problems with it myself. They definitely miss Turner’s bat and leadership. But my take is that the main problem up and down the lineup is no consistency. A bullpen that is brilliant, then melts down, especially in close games has been no help. And who would have guessed that Jansen would have 2 blown saves and a loss already? Story today said that the problem seems to be his foot again. He had plantar fasciitis a couple of years ago, so maybe that flared up again. That kept Mark McGwire out almost 4 months towards the end of his career and has plagued Pujols for years. To me there is no quick fix. They wanted to get under the tax cap and they did. But it kept them from upgrading the rotation or signing any premium players……AGAIN…..Their in season trades have also been less than inspiring so do not expect much at the deadline.

  4. MN, you summed up the Faz approach pretty well. Consistency is the name of this game and the Dodgers seem to be missing it, big time. But if you don’t upgrade your roster, and choose walking wounded for your FA’s, your chances diminish. We agree completely on this. On occasion, luck will show itself, but you don’t base your roster on luck.

    I am sure that there is a difference maker waiting to show himself in the minors. The problem is we also have the same kind of twisted politics going on there. Protection, pecking order, poor decision making on FO. This is a very tame group highly risk-adverse to paying up for talent. They are cheap MF’ers to put it frankly. Makes me think they are in it only for the money, the owners, that is. They will flip the team at some point and never look back. In the meantime, they are going to have to make some tough decisions about help, but necessity may dictate when, if injuries begin to pile up.

    Taylor is showing signs of life. Corey, while hitting well lately, is not the same power player as he has been, as you ably pointed out. This is one of the reasons I am a bit down on him. He has too many SO’s, Taylor too, and this usually means not seeing the ball well or all or nothing swinging. Corey has never been a true RBI man, by that I mean close or over 100 in a season. He is a valuable player on our team and without his production, the Dodger chances are meagre. Injury is something that every team has to deal with. Some staffs are better than others at conditioning and maintenance. I remember when the Warriors were an oft injured group and their doc and trainers were considered first rate. They changed the staff up and they have never looked better, albeit injuries still happen. Aging is the hardest factor to deal with and with the speed of the game accelerating, it remains a major problem in sports. I would not want to be a pro football player. Your retirement would be catering to all those injuries sustained while playing. The overall effects are documented. In most cases, they will not have normal lives, but they will be rich!!

    1. Jeff

      Toles will be back Tuesday, he has only went out with that knee injury, and for ten days until this Tuesday.

      And Michael, Toles hasn’t dropped on any depth charter, for going out for ten days, that is ridiculous.

      Joc has went on three times himself, on the DL, and I believe Puig has went out at least three times too.

      1. Toles has never had a prior Hammy problem, and obviously, this is nothing serious, or he would be out, for much longer then ten days.

      2. No it is not ridiculous. You don’t play, you cannot keep your status. And you are assuming he will be back. There has been no announcement of that. Another thing, Verdugo is the #2 prospect. Toles is not even on the prospect list. But Farmer still is. You have your opinions and that’s fine, my take is that a guy injured that often is not going to stay at the top of the list for long.

  5. The rest of the league is going away from the Three True Outcomes hitters. When will the FBZ? They are fast becoming dinosaurs.

      1. “The Three True Outcomes are a walk, strikeout or home run. They are called this because the three supposedly are the only events that do not involve the defensive team (other than the pitcher and catcher). This ignores outfielders taking away potential homers at the wall, and inside-the-park home runs, and the like; however, over a career those events make up a very small portion of the total.

        Prominent recent “TTO” players include Rob Deer, Ryan Howard, and Adam Dunn. Many all-time greats display this skill set as well, like Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and Jim Thome.”

        And all the Dodgers.

        Don’t make too much of this loss. It was predictable and in fact predicted. Scherzer is the top pitcher in the league. Games like this are going to happen. To win the next two the Dodgers will have to dig deep. We can beat Strasburg and Hellickson.

    1. YF

      I don’t see how any major league team would have to settle for a all or nothing, hitter?

      What team rather not have a hitter, that hits for an average and can make contact when it is needed, that also has power?

      And certainly the Dodgers don’t have to settle for hitters like that, and I am using the word hitter very loosely, because that is not hitting.

      1. All one has to do is watch the Dodgers lineup’s approach at the plate. No matter who’s in there on any given day the approach top to bottom is the same. No matter the count, no matter the situation these guys swing out of their shoes until they launch the ball in play or strike out. The Dodgers struck out 12 times last night. I predicted 11, but I underestimated by 1 the number of times they would strike out against the very average Nats bullpen. A team striking out 44% of the time in any given game no matter who is pitching is big time suckage. 2 for 12 WRISP also sucks the ruby begonia. But this is who we are now. This is what is being taught in LA. When it works, it’s fantastic. When it doesn’t, like last night, it is mephitic embarrassment.

        Perhaps today we make contact and hit line drives with men on base.

        1. Badger

          I remember your projection very well, and you were right on, about that!

          Like both you and YF, I get frustrated, when I see, what I saw in the first inning last night, and see much to often, when runners are in scoring position.

          Especially when they just saw, one of the best hitters in baseball do, the half inning before.

          1. Cervenka, who’s not known to get on FBZ favorites, calls Joc out (with a question mark of course). That first inning was a killer and a sad reminder of our Game 7 meltdown.

  6. There was no reason to have Joc in that line up over Kemp!

    Kemp has been our offensive leader, and it isn’t like Kemp has never hit a HR off Scherzer, so there was no reason to play Joc over Kemp.

    Kemp has seen Scherzer a lot more then Joc ever has, and Joc has never managed a hit off Scherzer, in the regular season.

    It is ridiculous to have a 188 hitter, with one extra base hit, which isn’t even a HR, like Joc’s numbers are, protecting Cody in the line up, and playing over a guy that is hitting over 300, and with power, like Kemp is.

    Why would any pitcher pitch to Cody, when they can pitch to Joc?

    Cody had no protection at all, in the line up, when runners are in scoring postion, because Grandal has never been a clutch hitter, either.

    What they did in the first inning of last night’s game, is exactly what they did in that seventh game of the World Series.

    Harper in the half inning before, didn’t try to do to much, when runners were in scoring position, he merely hit the ball in the whole on the right side, to in sure a run scored.

    But in the same situation, our guys didn’t do the same, even after they just saw what Harper did.

    Grandal popped up, and Cody and Joc, struck out.

    I would have had Puig hitting fifth, since he had the best numbers against Scherzer, and Puig hits righties better, so why move him all the way down to 7th, like he is at a platoon disadvantage, when Puig has hit righties better, for the last couple of years.

    Even if these guys could have managed a double play grounder, one run would have scored, but they tried to do to much!

    The biggest problem with that game, was giving Joc three at bats, instead of Kemp!

    1. “There was no reason to have Joc in that line up over Kemp!”

      Yes, there was a reason.

      You obviously don’t agree with it, but there was a reason. There is a reason for every move this team makes. They have charts. They have blueprints. They have graphs. They have blueprints of charts and graphs of the charts along with back up blueprints of the back up charts. These guys spend their days analyzing, reanalyzing then analyzing their analysis. The three headed SABR tool FAZRoberts and all their pinheaded automated reasoning slide rule minions have a definitive SABR outline for every move they make. They believe in Joc. It’s also my opinion the algorithms said that Kemp would strike out 67% of the time against Scherzer and they know, through formulaic analyses that every K would drop his July transactional market value by decimals. X divided by K = Y do it? It’s simple arithmetic.

      Until further notice expect more of the same.

      1. Badger

        Not even the numbers, gave Roberts a reason, to play Joc over Kemp!

        But I guess your point is, if a person just used their eyes, along with their common sense, they would know it isn’t a good idea to give Joc four at bats, instead of Kemp.

        And I would need at least one number, to solve for x, because math isn’t my strength.

        1. To be more accurate, it’s # of strikeouts divided by # of at bats. 2 divided by 3 equals why do it?

          Kemp got his 1 at bat. Against a lhp.

          In any given Dodgers scenario, look for the sabermetric explanation first. If you do this, chances are you will have your answer.

        2. Yeah, the numbers did give Roberts a reason to play Joc. Kemp is 6-46 against Scherzer with 1 homer, 2 doubles and 1 RBI. Scherzer has struck him out 14 times….that’s a pretty bad stat line. Joc was 0-5 in regular season games. Roberts played the percentages.

          1. Michael

            What you didn’t mention there, is that Joc has not only not had one hit off Scherzer, in the regular season, he struck out three times, in those five at bats, against Scherzer.

            Joc has struck out 60 percent of the time, against, Scherzer.

            And Kemp has only struck out 30 percent of the time, against Scherzer.

            But the most important numbers is the fact that Kemp is currently hitting 340, and Joc is currently hitting, 177.

            Joc is not even close to the hitter Kemp is, and he doesn’t have the experience that Kemp has, when it comes to Scherzer.

            And Kemp has been hot lately.

            Right Package?

          2. And Kemp is a 286 career hitter.

            And Joc is only a 200 career hitter.

            And I don’t call that, Roberts going with the best numbers, or the percentages!

          3. Mr. Norris
            You can scream charts, graphs, tendencies ect. ect. but you cannot give me one true reason Joc should play instead of Kemp. I think the percentages ship has sailed. Joc ain’t gonna make it on the Dodgers. They need to give it up. Walks are not enough. Get him out of LA now!

          4. MJ I am just explaining why Kemp sat. 6-46 is pretty bad. And like I said Roberts was playing the percentages. They both have exactly 1 homer off the guy. If you have a complaint about the batting orders, why don’t you try writing the front office and explain that you know what is best for Kemp and the team. If you have complaints about Joc’s playing time, take the issue to a higher power. I have no control over what Roberts or the front office do.

          5. Package I was not screaming anything. I posted the facts and those were the reason Kemp sat. Kemp had little prior success against Scherzer. You have a problem with Roberts logic, take the issue to him.

          6. Mr. Norris
            Sorry, I did not mean to make you think I thought that you were in some way responsible for Robert’s stupid moves in my opinion. I do disagree that the percentages favored Joc over Kemp.

    1. Package

      To be fair, Michael knows that Kemp is the better hitter, but he has always liked Joc, so he feels bad for Joc.

      1. You have no idea how or what I fell Miss MJ. Yes I know Kemp is a better hitter. And I have said consistently since the this season started that Joc did not deserve to be here. Toles was my choice. I was not and am not defending him. I was stating that the FO and Roberts like him and Roberts was praising his approach. So again I say to you that if you have a problem with the teams use of Mr Pederson take your complaints to a higher power and get off my back.

  7. Michael

    Look at Kemp’s, Puig’s, and Joc’s numbers against Strasberg in the last three years, and tell me why Joc is hitting higher in the line up, then both Kemp and Puig?

    1. MJ
      Yes you are correct. Kemp has been hot but I don’t think any of that would keep Dummy from playing Joc and giving him a preferred position in the lineup. I think it is pretty obvious that he does not care whether Kemp plays well or not. Joc and Kiki are the favorites on this team. Roberts spends his time showing everyone he is the boss. It doesn’t matter who the player is, Dummy wants his way and he will punish you if you object. I wish Kiki and Joc good riddance, the sooner the better.

    2. Ask Dave Roberts………I just explained why Kemp sat against Scherzer that’s all. Roberts and the FO have their own agenda….

      1. Mr. Norris
        Sorry, Sorry, Sorry, I did not mean to blame you for what the FO and Roberts did. I realize that this is only your opinion. I just can’t understand with Joc never getting a hit how his numbers are better?

        1. They were quoting his playoff success against Scherzer……not regular season. But Roberts played the percentages with Kemp being so bad against the guy and walla,….first AB tonight, on his birthday, Joc homers…..Percentages being Left vs right is supposed to favor the hitter…..same as Right vs left.

          1. Mr. Norris
            I guess that is one way to explain Joc running into a pitch. You can bet that even if Joc runs off a small streak he is destined to return to his normal non hitting role. Just my opinion.

    3. Hell if I know…ask Roberts he is the expert…….why is Muncy playing and Farmer still sitting on the bench? Maybe Roberts wants most of his lefty’s hitting ahead of Kemp……

  8. I have no problems with SABR. I just wonder when we are going to have a FO that uses the best of SABR to win it all, rather than a FO that uses SABR to save money and make excuses.

  9. Yueh,

    At least you have a Front Office that is using SABR to tell the fans to FO.

    Dodgers 2018 Sales Promotion “Making the Season Unwatchable”

  10. Gleyber Torres called up by the Yankees. As if they needed any more help. I remind everyone this kid Torres, who has been killing AAA, was a gift to the Yankees from the Dodgers via our super negotiators FAZ. Everyone back then, except Badger and maybe Michael, bought the company line on the Chapman choke (personally I think it is hypocritical for some to defend Grandal, a proven cheater with intent, and yet say they won’t give a second chance to Chapman, a one time reckless hot head, on moral grounds).

    And then what do I read on TrueBlue? That they are going to keep blocking our bevy of outfielders by giving Joc more at bats in the hopes he turns it around! This is so stupid on so many levels: Verdugo is a better player right now, and a better fit SABR wise for this club (real AstrosCubsYankers-rest of the contenders SABR, not the fake loser Dodgers SABR). And if not Verdugo then give Locastro a run, pun intended, and by the way Locastro is killing AAA as much as Torres.

    I have had it with the FBZ. They are just a middle of the pack SABR hacks who are getting outsmarted and outmanaged. Seriously the FBZ is becoming an insult to the SABR community. They need to go back to school to figure out how to use SABR to win the whole thing.

  11. Bellinger had better start hitting real soon or this team is in big trouble. And I mean with some power….so far not much,

  12. That was the difference between a pitcher and a thrower. And the difference between trying to go Station to Station, or swinging out of your socks to get a homerun.

  13. KKK with the bases loaded.

    That’s just wrong on so many levels.

    WRISP? 0fer.

    Squirrels. A roster of blind squirrels. It will be another double digit strike out night before it’s over.

    It’s a warm weather team.

    1. Badger and Tim,

      When think the same, when it comes to baseball.

      Give me a line drive hitter that can hit gap to gap, and also hit one out, occasionally.

      I am not surprised about Ryu’s performance at all.

      I am very happy for Ryu!

  14. Okay, so there may be a big dose of humble pie / Crow coming up if this game ends up with Joc hitting a freaking home run and then followed by Kiki hitting a home run and they end up winning it’s going to be ugly on us. And I will own up to it.

    1. No humble pie needed Tim. They are still scoring by HRs and it’s not going to be enough. Last year Bellinger was bunting for hits and Seager was trying to go the other way all the time. This year I’m seeing bad habits all over.

      Remember whe we played the Braves back in 2013 in the NLDS and everyone was saying we’d beat them easily because they lead the league in HRs and SOs, and we did beat them in 4 games? Those same bloggers (not here) don’t realize wecse now those Braves.

  15. Ok, Kiki and Joc contributed to a Dodger win. One or two hits does not make anyone Babe Ruth. Go ahead and play Joc. Unless he has learned anything new we can expect him to go downhill again soon. If I have to eat crow for a couple of hits, so be it, but rest assured that Joc will be judged religiously going forward.

  16. Jansen hit 96 on the gun twice…..looks like he found out what was wrong. Joc will be a part time player most of the year. As long as Kemp keeps hitting and giving them a reason to keep him, Joc will be his caddy until either he quits hitting completely or they decide to go with Verdugo. Like has been mentioned many times, the powers that be LIKE Joc and the LIKE Kike. So they will keep getting opportunities. What I want to see from the entire team, not just a couple of guys, is some semblance of consistency.

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