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Dodgers 4, Nats 2: Kershaw dominates in nightcap

Jul 18, 2015, 6:48 PM EDT

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GAME IN A NUTSHELL: Only 20 minutes following a rousing win in the completion of Friday night’s suspended game, the Nationals took the field full of pep and positive vibes. And then a left-hander named Clayton Kershaw sucked all the life out of them over the next 2 1/2 hours.

The Dodgers ace, 3-time Cy Young Award winner and reigning NL MVP was every bit as good as advertised, shutting out the Nationals over eight brilliant innings. Kershaw struck out 14 (most-ever by an opposing pitcher against the Nats since the franchise arrived in town in 2005), didn’t walk a batter and was in complete control from the moment he took the mound on a sweltering Saturday afternoon.

Doug Fister wasn’t nearly as effective, escaping major damage early but then succumbing to the L.A. lineup during a 3-run fifth that ended his day. The score remained 4-0 into the ninth, when the Nationals finally got on the board, thanks to Bryce Harper’s towering homer off Kenley Jansen. That’s all they could muster, though, so the Nats were left to split this sort-of doubleheader, enjoying their dramatic Friday night/Saturday afternoon victory but left to stew over their loss in the nightcap to one of the game’s best pitchers.

HITTING LOWLIGHT: Look, Kershaw can make anybody look awful on any given day he takes the mound, but he certainly owned Harper on Saturday unlike any other pitcher has this season. Harper struck out three times against the lefty, all three swinging. That leaves him 1-for-9 with six strikeouts in his career vs. Kershaw. Though, in his defense, the one hit was a home run at Dodger Stadium last fall. And that second-deck blast off Jansen in the ninth certainly helped make this day sting a little less.

PITCHING LOWLIGHT: Though he made it through his first four innings allowing only one run, Fister seemed to be teetering on the brink of disaster all afternoon. The Dodgers were hitting ropes off him from the beginning, including three flyballs to the warning track that resulted in outs. Eventually, that had to catch up to him. And sure enough, it did in the top of the fifth. Fister gave up three more runs on a flurry of base hits, ultimately departing having allowed four runs on nine hits in only five innings. He continues to struggle finding a level of consistency this season.

INJURY UPDATE: Second baseman Danny Espinosa left the game in the top of the ninth after appearing to injure his left leg trying to make a diving stop of a base hit to his left. Espinosa walked off the field under his own power but was very careful not to put much weight on the injured leg.

KEY STAT: In his last six starts against the Nationals, Kershaw is now 6-0 with an 0.97 ERA.

UP NEXT: The series concludes at 1:35 p.m. Sunday with one of the best pitching matchups of the season. It’s a pair of Cy Young Award contenders taking the mound, with Max Scherzer (10-7, 2.11) vs. Zack Greinke (8-2, 1.39).

  1. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 18, 2015 at 7:04 PM

    Cramps for Espinosa. That’s good news and the salvage HR blast by Harper brought that respectability to the box score.

  2. unkyd59 - Jul 18, 2015 at 7:05 PM

    Is it Turner time? Or will they bring Difo up, finches already on the 40, if Spinner is hurt… I hope Danny is alright..just a cramp…

    • unkyd59 - Jul 18, 2015 at 7:09 PM

      “Since he’s”…. Thanks Ghost…that’s good news!

    • laddieblahblah - Jul 18, 2015 at 7:43 PM

      Rendon had a double today in his first rehab start, but Werth is only hitting around .167 at Potomac, after several games. Turner is continuing to rip at AAA, getting a double in his first AB today.

      From the way Turner has been hitting over the past dozen games, he seems ready. Tony could be close to coming back, as well. Looks to me like Werth is still a work-in-progress. They should not bring him back until he can actually contribute, IMO.

      Big game tomorrow, and a chance to take the series from the NL West division leaders.

      • natsdial8 - Jul 18, 2015 at 8:39 PM

        Counting last year’s playoff whiff along with no production this year on top of the injuries and poor defense it is a long shot that Werth will make any positive contributions . How is that for a run on sentence 😀

  3. nats106 - Jul 18, 2015 at 8:23 PM

    if you are a baseball fan you had to love today’s action. Suspended game won by a “nobody from nowhere” who also plays a pretty damn good LF and then one of the best pitchers in the game putting on a clinic. I saw 13 innings of great baseball. Erah, ok an error or two along the way, but you can’t minimize that the games today were just plain fun and good to watch.

    I can’t wait for tomorrow. Just with the Nats were a little healthier, but that too shall come.

    Great day to be in 106!

    • natsdial8 - Jul 18, 2015 at 8:33 PM

      Nice call 106 yes very good baseball day .

  4. nats106 - Jul 18, 2015 at 8:24 PM

    wish, not with good grief





As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

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