The Dodgers return home on Friday night and resume play with a pivotal three game series against the Washington Nationals. Due to the fingernail injury to Rich Hill, the Dodgers will move up everyone in the rotation each one day. This means that Clayton Kershaw will get the nod for the series opener on Friday and Hyun-jin Ryu will match up against Stephen Strasburg on Saturday. Alex Wood will take the mound in the series finale on Sunday versus Jeremy Hellickson.
Friday’s series opener will feature a marquee pitching match-up as Kershaw will battle Max Scherzer. According to baseball history, this will be just the thirteenth time that three-time Cy Young award winners will face each other. This has happened just ten times in regular season history, and three times in postseason history. To show you how rare this is, here is the list of the match-ups with dates and scores.
Starting Pitching Matchups Between Pitchers Who Had Won 3+ Cy Young Awards Prior to Matchup – All-Time (reg & post)
|GAME DATE||ROAD STARTER||HOME STARTER||WINNER||PLAYOFF GAME|
|04/08/1981||Steve Carlton, Phi||Tom Seaver, Cin||Cin, 3-2|
|08/18/1981||Steve Carlton, Phi||Tom Seaver, Cin||Cin, 3-1|
|05/24/1982||Steve Carlton, Phi||Tom Seaver, Cin||Phi, 9-1|
|04/05/1983||Steve Carlton, Phi||Tom Seaver, NYM||NYM, 2-0|
|04/23/1984||Jim Palmer, Bal||Tom Seaver, CWS||CWS, 7-6 (10)|
|06/03/2000||Roger Clemens, NYY||Greg Maddux, Atl||Atl, 11-7|
|04/14/2001||Roger Clemens, NYY||Pedro Martinez, Bos||NYY, 3-2|
|10/16/2001||Greg Maddux, Atl||Randy Johnson, Ari||Ari, 2-0||NLCS Gm1|
|10/11/2003||Roger Clemens, NYY||Pedro Martinez, Bos||NYY, 4-3||ALCS Gm3|
|10/16/2003||Pedro Martinez, Bos||Roger Clemens, NYY||NYY, 6-5 (11)||ALCS Gm7|
|04/29/2005||Greg Maddux, ChC||Roger Clemens, Hou||ChC, 3-2|
|07/19/2006||Roger Clemens, Hou||Greg Maddux, ChC||Hou, 4-2|
So far Kershaw is off to another incredible start to the season. Despite his 1-2 record, he has a 1.73 ERA and a 6.9 H/9 rate over 26 innings pitched. Kershaw has struck out 31 and walked only 3 while striking out 10.7 per nine. He’s allowed just five earned runs over his first four starts. Kershaw’s career numbers against Washington have been nothing short of dominance.
Over 14 starts and 96 innings Kershaw has an 11-2 record with a 1.97 ERA versus the Nationals. This includes 113 whiffs and only 20 walks with a 0.8 WHIP. He’s averaged over 10 strikeouts per nine innings when he pitches against the Nationals and has a 5-1 strikeout to walk ratio. The current Nationals have had some success against Kershaw. The Nats are slashing .263/.289/.380 (47 for 179) against Kersh with 5 home runs and a .669 OPS.
However Kershaw has struck out 47 and walked only 8 while limiting the Nats to just 11 extra-base hits in 190 plate appearances. National’s third baseman Ryan Zimmerman is hitting .323 (10 for 31) with a home run in 33 plate appearances versus Kershaw. Former Dodger Howie Kendrick is 6 for 15 and Bryce Harper is hitting just .087 (2 for 23).
Kershaw vs. Washington
Max Scherzer has been just as stingy as Kershaw this year as he’s gotten off to a fantastic start to the 2018 season. In four starts Scherzer is 4-1 with a 1.33 ERA with 38 strikeouts and only 4 walks over 27 innings pitched. He’s given up just 4.7 hits per nine and posted a 0.6 WHIP. He’s also striking out over 12 batters per nine innings.
Scherzer is 3-4 with a 2.92 ERA over 9 career starts against the Dodgers. He’s struck out 63 in 61.2 innings pitched while walking 13. In 6 career starts at Dodger Stadium he is 2-2 with a 3.26 ERA and 44 strikeouts against 9 walks across 38.2 innings pitched. Scherzer has held the current Dodgers to a .178/.234/.347 line with 4 home runs and a .582 OPS. No Dodger has had more than 6 career hits against Scherzer. Matt Kemp is 6 for 46 (.130) with a home run and two doubles. Chase Utley is 4 for 19 and Joc Pederson, and Corey Seager have hit home runs.
Scherzer vs. Dodgers
Don’t sleep on this one!