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Left-handed pitchers remain a problem for Dodgers

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After struggling against southpaw relievers, Dodgers will face a LHP starter in Game 3

Division Series - Los Angeles Dodgers v Washington Nationals - Game Two Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Stop me if you have heard this before, but the Dodgers continue to have problems against left-handed pitchers, and that’s what faces them if they want to avoid trailing in the series.

All three southpaw relievers for the Nationals saw action on Sunday in Game 2. Mark Rzepczynski walked three batters but got four outs. Against him, Sammy Solis and Oliver Perez in Game 2, the Dodgers were 0-for-7 with three walks and two strikeouts.

Solis was the only lefty used in Game 1, and the Dodgers were 1-for-7 with one intentional walk and one strikeout in the series opener.

That’s 1-for-14 (.071) in the series with three strikeouts, though also with four walks.

But for a team that hit just .213/.290/.322 against lefties all season, dead last in MLB, this is a problem.

The Dodgers will face a fourth left-hander on Monday in Gio Gonzalez, who starts for the Nationals.

“You’ll see a couple different guys in the lineup for us. I think that how we fared against left-handed pitching, I really don’t think our guys are too concerned about the history,” manager Dave Roberts said in his postgame press conference with reporters. “We’re looking forward to this one game, Game 3. We’ve got some history with Gio, and he’s going to have to make pitches to beat us.”

Unfortunately that history with Gonzalez hasn’t gone so well for the Dodgers. Gonzalez has started once against the Dodgers in each of the last five years, and owns a 1.69 ERA in 32 innings, with 34 strikeouts and 12 walks. That includes a win earlier in 2016 in Washington.

As for the Dodgers’ performance against Gonzalez, the only one with even decent numbers against him is catcher Carlos Ruiz, 7-for-29 with three doubles and a home run.

Source: Baseball-Reference.com

The home run for Ruiz came this season, on April 17 with the Phillies.

Up next

Game 3 is set for 1:08 p.m. PT on Monday at Dodger Stadium, locked in at that start time after the Red Sox and Indians were rained out on Sunday in Boston.

Both starters flew back to Los Angeles well ahead of their teams. Kenta Maeda starts Monday for the Dodgers, all of a sudden looking to become the first Dodgers starting pitcher in the series to record an out in the sixth inning. But that might be a tall order for Maeda, who last pitched longer than five innings on Sept. 11, four starts ago. He averaged 5.19 innings per start in his final 16 starts of the season.

Rich Hill only lasted 4⅓ innings on Sunday, and wasn’t happy about it.

“We’re tied in the series now because I didn’t execute. It’s extremely disappointing,” Hill said, as seen on MLB Network. “The good news is we’re going home, and with home field advantage in the series it’s going to be big.”