SSG Baseball Game of the Week
Los Angeles Dodgers (83-65) @ Washington Nationals (96-52)
Probable Starters – Hyun-jin Ryu (10-8), 3.56 ERA v Matt Garza (5-3), 5.02 ERA
The 2015 Champion Dodgers look likely to make the playoffs as a wild card entry with the Rockies magic number at seven with fourteen days left of the regular season.
So, Manager Don Mattingly must focus his players on maintaining the lead over the New York Mets for home field advantage in the wild card game.
Coming into the weekend the Dodgers had beaten arch rivals San Francisco but suffered 6-1 and 6-5 losses to Washington as the Nationals clinched the NL Eastern Division title and are in the midst of a six-game winning streak and charging for the home field advantage spot in the National League playoffs as the Rockies falter.
The matchup sees the Dodgers number 2 Ryu on course for his fifth straight double digit win, sub 4.00 ERA season with LA against Garza a trade deadline pickup from nearby neighbours Baltimore and has slotted into a six-man rotation as the number six starter, Garza is 2-0 with a 4.26 ERA in seven starts with the Nationals.
Offensively both sides boast some big bats we will focus on who has impressed so far, this month.
Washington are scoring runs behind the bats of Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and Ryan Zimmermann. Harper is hitting .373/.475/.588 with an OPS of 1.064, Machado .316/.371/5.26 (OPS .897) and Zimmermann .365/.414/.635 (OPS 1.048). When he subs for Tulowitzki (.208 avg for the month) Ruben Tejada is hitting .462/.462/.538.
The Dodgers have Puig and Bellinger both hitting over .300 consistency in September. Puig .345/.377/.569 (OPS .946) and still has a habit for the strikeout but leads the team in RBI’s for the month (10). Bellinger .303/.361/.576 (OPS .937) 2 HR & 7 RBI is a bat to watch out for.
The Dodgers bullpen is anchored by Hutson Street, with nine of the twenty saves this month. But behind him it looks slightly ‘dodgy’ with only Jose G Gonzalez not allowing runs this month but has a high BABIP.
The Nationals have Greg Holland at closer with four saves and a gaudy 14.1 K/9 for September, the Nationals bullpen looks steady at the moment compared to the Dodgers, lefty Mike Dunn who has pitched in eight games for 2.25 ERA and a FIP 0.31 the standout.
So, it’s Dodgers trying to move one game closer to home field advantage in the wild card race against the Nationals on a six-game winning streak trying to own home field advantage in the playoffs, and it is a possible Divisional Series matchup in October.
Game will be broadcast on the slack channel ssglivegames at Sunday 1PM ET.