With the Dodgers facing the Nationals, thoughts naturally turn to outfielder Bryce Harper, who has had a relative struggle this season after running away with the National League MVP award in 2015.
Keep in mind, Harper remains a fantastic hitter. His .363 wOBA and 126 wRC+ is better than everyone on the Dodgers except Corey Seager (.374, 138).
But he's hitting .252/.394/.477 in 2016 one year after putting up an historic .330/.460/.649 campaign at age 22 in his MVP year. After leading the NL with 42 home runs in 2015, Harper has 19 homers this season, on pace for 33. His doubles are down too, from 38 to 11, on pace in 2016 for just 19.
Harper was 3-for-14 (.214) with five strikeouts and a stolen base during the three-game series against the Dodgers from June 20-22 in Los Angeles. But one of those hits was a home run against Scott Kazmir on June 21.
Against left-handed pitchers this season, Harper is hitting .244/.340/.478. He leads the majors with 72 walks. That Dodgers series in June was one of just five complete series in which Harper didn't draw at least one base on balls this season.
Kazmir allowed six extra-base hits to six different Nationals in that June 21 start, but managed to keep Washington to just two runs in six innings, with both runs coming on solo home runs, by Harper and Danny Espinosa.
Since the series in Los Angeles, Espinosa is hitting .277/.385/.554 with five home runs and 20 RBI in 20 games.
Jayson Werth hit one of four doubles against Kazmir on June 21, and in his career against the southpaw is a whopping 7-for-10 with two doubles, a home run and four walks.
Seager gets a rare night off for the Dodgers, with Chris Taylor starting at shortstop.
Washington roster move
The Nationals officially called up pitcher Reynaldo Lopez to make the start Tuesday night. To make room on the active roster, left-handed pitcher Sammy Solis was placed on the 15-day disabled list with right knee inflammation. To make room on the 40-man roster, pitcher Abel de los Santos was claimed on waivers by the Reds.