Things get started on Friday night.
These two offenses are each buoyed by a quartet players, all of whom rank among the very best hitters in the National League this season. Here’s where they rank among qualified NL players in wRC+ in 2017:
- 2nd — Bryce Harper 162 wRC+
- 4th — Justin Turner, 153
- 7th — Cody Bellinger, 143
- 11th — Anthony Rendon, 140
- 14th — Daniel Murphy, 135
- 15th — Ryan Zimmerman, 133
- 16th — Corey Seager, 132
- 17th — Chris Taylor, 130
Harper is the one missing this weekend, out a month with a hyperextended left knee. The superstar outfielder was enjoying a fine season reminiscent of his 2015 MVP campaign, hitting .326/.419/.614 with 29 home runs, 27 doubles, 87 RBI and 92 runs scored in just 106 games.
Harper doesn’t turn 25 until October 16, by the way.
A combination of regular rest, a liberal use of the 10-day disabled list, and playing matchups throughout the season, the Dodgers will end 2017 with just one player playing in 150 games — Yasiel Puig is at 139 games played, with 16 remaining.
Washington, meanwhile, has dealt with a bevy of injuries throughout its roster all year, and is in a similar boat. Rendon, with 134 games played and 16 games left in the season, is the only Nationals player who can reach 150 games this season.
Even with the injuries, the Nationals have persevered. Since Harper’s injury, for instance, they are 20-12 (.625).
Old friend alert
Most starts by drafted Dodgers pitchers
|Orel Hershiser||1979 (17th)||466|
|Doyle Alexander||1968 (9th)||464|
|Bob Welch||1977 (1st)||462|
|Charlie Hough||1966 (8th)||440|
|Rick Sutcliffe||1974 (1st)||392|
|Rick Rhoden||1971 (1st)||380|
|Dave Stewart||1975 (16th)||348|
|Ted Lilly||1996 (23rd)||331|
|Sid Fernandez||1981 (3rd)||300|
|Clayton Kershaw||2006 (1st)||287|
|Edwin Jackson||2001 (6th)||285|
Edwin Jackson starts the series opener for the Nationals, 14 years and six days after he made his major league debut on his 20th birthday with the Dodgers. Washington is one of 12 different MLB teams for whom Jackson has pitched.
Friday will be Jackson’s 286th career start in the majors, which ranks 12th all-time among pitchers drafted and signed by the Dodgers.
Jackson, selected in the sixth round by the Dodgers in 2001, will move one start behind Clayton Kershaw on that list, which is topped by Orel Hershiser (17th round, 1979) and his 466 starts.
Man of steal
Trea Turner missed 51 games with a broken wrist, sidelined for all of July and most of August. But he’s back with a vengeance, and still the dynamic player he was last year as a rookie. Now at shortstop after playing center field in 2016, Turner is hitting .311/.382/.590 in 16 games since his return from the disabled list.
On the season, he has stolen 40 bases in 46 attempts despite playing only 84 games. He stole 33 bases in 39 tries in just 72 games in 2016. Turner in his last 162 games played has stolen 72 bases in 85 tries, an excellent 84.7% success rate.
Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton in his last 162 games played has 81 steals in 94 attempts, an 86.2% clip. The 1980s kid in me is so, so ready for these two to usher in a new ear of volume stolen bases again.
And Turner probably isn’t even the fastest player on the Nationals. That would be 20-year-old outfielder Victor Robles, who did this on Thursday:
Time: 4:05 p.m. PT
TV: SportsNet LA, MLB Network