Thursday, July 18, 2024
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MLB Preview: Washington Nationals (23-30) at Los Angeles Dodgers (32-22)

WASHINGTON NATIONALS NOTES:

GO WEST, YOUNG MEN
The Washington Nationals return to California for the third time already this season to face the Los Angeles Dodgers in a three-game series…Remarkably, Washington will return to California for a fourth time, June 23-25 to face the San Diego Padres.

  • The Nationals fell to the Royals, 3-2, in walk-off fashion on Sunday afternoon…MacKenzie Gore struck out a career-high 11 batters in 7.0 innings.

STATUS CHECK
The Nationals have won five of the last eight, 10 of 20 and 14 of their last 27 games…They are 18-17 (.514) dating to April 21 at Minnesota, tied for the seventh-best record in the National League over this span.

  • Washington is 22-24 (.478) after losing six of seven games to start the season…That stretch included series against the Atlanta Braves (1-2) and Tampa Bay Rays (0-3) as well as a 1-0 loss to the Colorado Rockies on their Opening Day.

LEADING THE WAY
Washington leads Major League Baseball in average (.285) and ranks in the league in on-base percentage (2nd, .344), hits (2nd, 264), doubles (T5th, 54) and OPS (7th, .773) since April 30.

  • On the season, Washington’s offense leads the National League in batting average (3rd, .266), ranks fifth in on-base percentage (.330) and has the lowest strikeout rate in Major League Baseballl (19.0%).

STREAKIN’ LANE TRAIN
Lane Thomas has reached safely in a career-high 24 straight games and has hit safely in a career-high 13 straight games…Thomas is hitting .320/.370/.610 with six doubles, a triple, seven homers, 15 RBI, seven walks, one hit by pitch, two stolen bases and 20 runs scored during the on-base streak.

  • The hitting streak is the third-longest active streak in the league, while the on-base streak is the fourth-longest active streak.
  • Thomas ranks tied for fifth in the National League with eight home runs during the month of May, while his .613 slugging percentage ranks 11th in the NL during the month.
  • On the season, Thomas ranks in the National League in runs scored (T10th, 34) and hits (T9th, 58).

JOEY HITS
Joey Meneses is tied for fifth in the National League with 62 hits and his .295 batting average ranks ninth… He’s recorded seven three-hit games this season, tied for second in Major League Baseball behind Bo Bichette (9).

  • Meneses is tied for fourth in Major League Baseball with 51 hits behind Freddie Freeman (55), Bo Bichette (53) and Brandon Nimmo (52) since April 15…His .327 batting average since April 15th is tied for fifth in MLB.
  • He is hitting .351/.415/.486 with seven doubles, one homer, 18 RBI, eight walks and nine runs scored in his last 18 games.

ROAD RISP
The Nationals lead Major League Baseball with a .324 batting average with runners in scoring position away from Nationals Park…They rank ahead of the Texas Rangers (.318), Houston Astros (.296) and Tampa Bay Rays (.285) in road RISP.

STARTING PITCHER – #32 TREVOR WILLIAMS
Veteran right-handed starter signed a two-year contract with the Nationals in Dec. 2022…From 2018-21, Williams was exclusively a starter, but he transitioned to a versatile swingman in 2021 and 2022…He is 35-41 with a 4.33 ERA in 118 career starts and 3-3 with a 3.84 ERA in 41 relief outings…Was a second-round pick of the Miami Marlins in 2013 but was traded to Pittsburgh in 2015 while pitching in the Arizona Fall League.

LAST START
Earned his second win of the season on May 24 vs. San Diego…Allowed three earned runs on three hits with five strikeouts and three walks in 5.2 innings of work…The five strikeouts matched a season-high for the second consecutive start.

vs. LOS ANGELES
Is 0-1 with a 5.67 ERA in six games (five starts) against the Dodgers…Last faced them on June 5, 2022 at Dodger Stadium (5.0 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, HR, 5 SO).

THE OLD NUMBER ONE
Williams’ four-seam fastball ranks fifth among all Major League four-seamers (min. 100 PA) with a .207 opponents’ batting average against and seventh with a .291 wOBA, according to MLB Statcast…Among all MLB pitches, the four-seamer ranks 13th in opponents’ batting average and 17th in wOBA.

HOME SWEET HOME
Williams has pitched to a 3.09 ERA (8 ER/23.1 IP) in five home starts…He has tossed at least 5.0 innings in four of the five outings.

STRONG START
Williams opened the 2023 season going 1-1 with a 3.38 ERA (8 ER/21.1 IP) with 13 strikeouts and just four walks in his first four starts of the season…After allowing four earned runs on April 27 at New York (NL), he tossed 5.1 innings of four-hit, shutout ball on May 2 vs. Chicago (NL).

LOS ANGELES DODGERS NOTES:

HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS: The Dodgers return home this evening for the first time in nearly two weeks after closing out a 4-6 road trip yesterday with a wild 11-10 loss to the Rays at Tropicana Field in which they hit a season high five homers. Los Angeles is 17-7 at Dodger Stadium this season (.708), good for the best home record in the National League. The Dodgers hold a 1.5 games lead in the National League West division over Arizona and are 4.5 games ahead of the third-place San Francisco Giants. This evening on Memorial Day, the Boys in Blue begin a six-game homestand with a 6:10 p.m. start vs. the Washington Nationals. Following the three games vs. the Nats and an off day on Thursday, the Dodgers welcome in the New York Yankees for a three-game weekend series (June 2-4), culminating with ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball to close out the stand. Los Angeles (.593) owns the second-best record in the National League behind Atlanta and the sixth best mark in the big leagues, trailing Tampa Bay (.709), Baltimore (.642), Texas (.635), Atlanta (.604) and Houston (.596). The Dodgers have beaten Washington in 10 of their last 13 meetings since the start of the 2021 campaign. In that time, Los Angeles is 4-2 vs. the Nationals at Dodger Stadium.

CAN’T STOP TILL YOU GET ENOUGH: The Dodgers battled back from an early four-run deficit, but ultimately came up short and lost the finale of their 10-game road trip, 11-10, in a game that saw a combined 21 runs and 27 hits. Rookie right-hander Gavin Stone made his third-career start and was hammered, giving up seven runs on 10 hits in 2.0 innings. The contest saw 17 of the 21 runs scored in the first 4.0 innings and the starting pitchers combined to allow 17 runs. Offensively, Chris Taylor led the charge for the Dodgers, going 3-for-3 with two solo homers and a Dodger season high tying three runs scored. The two homers matched a career high for the fifth time as he turned in his first multi-homer game since 2021. Taylor, who is tied for fourth on the Dodgers with nine home runs, didn’t belt his ninth homer last season until Sept. 11, his 102nd game. Trayce Thompson got the start in center field yesterday and broke out of an 0-for-39 slump in a big way, going 3-for-3 with a solo homer, two RBI and a walk. The game was Thompson’s first multi-hit contest since April 1. The hitless streak was the longest by a non-pitcher in L.A. Dodger history.

LOCKED IN: Dodger designated hitter J.D. Martinez went 2-for-5 with a solo homer yesterday and has been on fire since returning from the injured list on May 12. He has hit safely in 14 of 15 games, batting .318 (20-for-64) with three doubles, six homers and 18 RBI. In his career, May has been his most productive month, clubbing 59 homers and driving in 162 runners while recording an .894 OPS. His current 12-game hitting streak is the second longest by a Dodger this season.

MILLER TIME: Dodger rookie pitcher Bobby Miller will make his second-career start tonight and first at Dodger Stadium. Miller picked up his first ML victory in his debut last Tuesday in Atlanta, becoming the first Dodger starter to win his big league debut since José De León on Sept. 4, 2016.

THE GLUE: Dodger catcher Will Smith pinch hit and went 0-for-1 yesterday and is now batting .321 (25-for-78) with three doubles, four homers in the month of May with a .946 OPS. The Dodgers are 24-12 (.667) when Smith has appeared in a game and 24-9 (.727) when he starts.

FABULOUS FREDDIE: Dodger first baseman Freddie Freeman extended his hitting streak to 17 games on Sunday, going 2-for-5 with two doubles and a run scored. Freeman is batting .441 (30-for-68) with four homers, 10 doubles, one triple, 18 RBI and 15 runs scored during the streak and has hit safely in all but two games in May. Freeman is tied with Jonathan India for third in the Major Leagues with 44 runs scored, trailing just Ronald Acuña Jr. (48) and Marcus Semien (46). He clubbed his 300th career homer on May 18 and became just the fifth player in franchise history to accomplish that feat in a Dodger uniform. Freeman leads the Major Leagues with 22 doubles and 32 extra-base hits while ranking second in hits (72) and third in batting average (.335). His 300th career homer came in grand fashion, as he clubbed his fourth career Grand Slam to achieve the milestone. Freeman became just the second person in MLB history to hit No. 300 for a Grand Slam, joining Ruben Sierra, who clubbed his 300th on August 28, 2004, for the Yankees at Toronto. His 17-game hitting streak is the fourth longest of his career and his longest streak as a Dodger:

Team Games Started Ended
Atlanta Braves 30 08-24-2016 09-28-2016
Atlanta Braves 20 07-17-2011 08-06-2011
Atlanta Braves 18 08-14-2020 09-04-2020
Los Angeles Dodgers 17 05-10-2023 Active
Atlanta Braves 16 05-19-2018 06-03-2018

LONG BALLS: The Dodgers homered a season high five times yesterday and have 89 on the season, which is tied for second in the Majors with Atlanta, trailing only the Tampa Bay Rays (101). Los Angeles recorded their 15th 3+ homer game of the season on Sunday at Tampa Bay, which trails only the Rays (16) for the most in the Majors. The Dodgers also rank second in the Majors with 43 games with at least one homer, behind the Rays (48), who have homered in all but seven games this season.

TONIGHT’S STARTER vs. NATIONALS: RHP BOBBY MILLER (1-0, 1.80 ERA in 1 GS)
2023 SEASON NOTES:

  • Illinois native picked up the win in his Major League debut against Atlanta last Tuesday after spinning five innings and giving up four hits, one run and one walk while striking out five
  • Owns a 1-1 record across four starts with Triple-A Oklahoma City with a 5.65 ERA (9 ER/14.1 IP) with 12 strikeouts and just 6 issued walks…has limited the opposition to a .212/.295/.385 slashline
  • Was a non-roster invitee to Spring Training…did not appear

VS. NATIONALS:

  • Will face Washington for the first time in his career
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