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Southpaws open Dodgers’ showdown series with Nationals

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Division Series - Washington Nationals v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Three
Gio Gonzalez started Game 3 of the 2016 NLDS against the Dodgers
Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers for the second time in 2017 get a showdown series at Dodger Stadium against a 2016 playoff opponent, and for this three-game series beginning Monday night at Dodger Stadium, the Nationals are playing well at the time.

Washington (35-20) comes to town with the best record in the National League, visiting the team with the third-best record (35-23), with the pesky Rockies (36-23) sticking their nose in between.

The Dodgers (+84) and Nationals (+70) have the top two run differentials in the National League entering play on Monday night.

The Nationals are still getting sublime production out of Ryan Zimmerman (.374/.421/.713), Bryce Harper (.324/.441/.648) and Daniel Murphy (.340/.393/.573). Zimmerman’s 16 home runs match his high for the last four seasons.

The only below-average Washington regular has been Trea Turner, who was so dynamic last year as a rookie, but is hitting just .262/.289/.410 as the regular shortstop this season. Even then, he has been heating up of late, with six multi-hit games in his last nine, hitting .349/.364/.488 during that span.

Not left behind

Gio Gonzalez starts for the Nationals on Monday night, which might have been more of a concern for the Dodgers earlier in the season. Their 2016 struggles against left-handed pitching carried over into 2017, and the Dodgers were facing a southpaw starter almost literally every other game for the first few weeks.

On the season, the Dodgers are hitting .247/.330/.418 against lefties, 12th in MLB in OPS (.748) and ninth in wRC+ (102) against them.

Los Angeles has won seven of their last eight games started by opposing left-handed pitchers, and are 10-8 in such games on the season.

Gonzalez is just the second southpaw starter the Dodgers will have faced in a 16-game stretch.

The flip side is that the Nationals are hitting .283/.344/.491 against lefties, tops in the majors in OPS (.834) and second in wRC+ (116). So Hyun-jin Ryu will have his work cut out for him on Monday night.

Game info

Time: 7:10 p.m. PT

TV: SportsNet LA, ESPN