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Dodgers open 'second half' with first-place showdown against Nationals

Norm Hall/Getty Images

The Dodgers have been a busy team with several transactions so far in 2015, and with the trading deadline just two weeks away plus a few ailing position players nearing readiness the major league team could look even more different by the time the calendar turns to August. But for now, for this weekend what we see is what we get, with the first-place Dodgers meeting the first-place Nationals in a three-game series in Washington D.C.

So far this season the Dodgers have made 109 player moves (counting only players on the 40-man roster; for instance, optioning Eric Surkamp to Triple-A and recalling Ian Thomas on July 5 counts as two player moves), and have had 60 different people occupy a spot on the 40-man roster (or its adjoining 60-day disabled list).

In 2014, the Dodgers made 123 player moves all season, and had 54 players occupy spots on the 40-man.

One of the 26 pitchers used by the Dodgers this season — one shy of the franchise record, set in 2013 — is Mike Bolsinger, who o the whole has probably been the biggest surprise.

In 13 starts before the break, Bolsinger was 4-3 with a 3.08 ERA and 2.79 FIP, with 69 strikeouts and 25 walks in 73 innings. Bolsinger's K-BB rate of 14.8 percent ranked just below American League All-Star starter Dallas Keuchel of the Astros (15.0 percent), and ranked 38th among the 120 major league pitchers with at least 70 innings in 2015.

Jordan Zimmermann, starter for the Nationals on Friday, has a 13.2-percent K-BB rate, 55th in the majors, and the second lowest of his career. That's thanks in large part to a reduce strikeout rate for Zimmermann this year of just 17.5 percent, down from 22.8 percent in 2014 and 20.2 percent in his career heading into 2015.

Zimmermann had a clunker of a start just before the break, allowing four runs in five innings in Baltimore last Saturday, but in his previous starts before that lasted at least seven innings each time, with a 1.21 ERA during that span plus 25 strikeouts to go with just two walks.

Bolsinger lasted six innings in his last start before the break, last Friday, which was much needed after he couldn't last past 5⅓ innings in any of his previous five start, although his best of those was cut short after four efficient scoreless innings by some bad Oysters.

Bolsinger throws his curve ball nearly half the time — 47.8 percent of his pitches, per PITCHf/x. But he faces a Nationals team that has handled the curve quite well, to the tune of 1.36 weighted runs above average per 100 pitches, second in the majors to the Reds.

Game info

Time: 4:05 p.m.

TV: SportsNet LA, MLB Network