The Dodgers start their nine-game road trip with a series against a team that seems likely to get the number one pick in the draft for the second year in a row (2010: The Bryce Harper Sweepstakes). The Nationals own baseball's worst record at 51-98, and the only team close to them -- the Pirates -- just happen to be next on the schedule for the Dodgers.
However, the Dodgers own a 4-8 all-time record in Washington DC, and were swept here just last season. The Nationals' sweep last August extended the Dodger losing streak to seven games, a streak that would reach eight in Arizona before the Dodgers turned it around and won the division.
Washington DC also happens to be the site of the debut of one Matt Kemp. On May 28, 2006, The Bison struck out in his first three at-bats, but got his first major league hit with an eighth-inning single off Jon Rauch. However, in three games since in our nation's capital, Kemp is hitless in 14 at-bats.
In need of a hit? Enter Livan Hernandez, who has allowed 197 hits in 167.1 innings this season. Hernandez has allowed 10.6 hits per nine innings this season, the seventh time in his career Hernandez has allowed double digit hits per nine innings. Hernandez has already faced the Dodgers twice this season, when he was a Met. He pitched one good game, and one bad game, but the Dodgers won both anyway.
Hiroki Kuroda will pitch for the Dodgers, in his 50th major league start. Kuroda has won his last two starts, allowing a total of three runs in 14 innings. He has not issued a walk in his last 16 innings, and he has allowed no walks in eight of 18 starts this season.
Since the All-Star break, Andre Ethier ranks seventh in baseball with a 1.014 OPS. Since then, Ethier is hitting .328/.405/.609, with 39 runs scored, 13 home runs, and 45 runs batted in over 62 games. Ethier's 24 doubles since the All-Star break are the third-most in baseball, one behind both Brian Roberts and Daniel Murphy.
The Dodgers have homered in a season-high 10 straight games, with 17 home runs during that span.
Check out Xeifrank's simulation of today's game here.
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Game Time: 4:05pm