Bryce Harper's struggled to hit left-handers this season. Washington's 20-year-old outfielder had a .240/.300/.415 line against lefties last season, but so far in 2013, the Nationals' 2010 no.1 overall pick has posted a .179/.282/.313 line. Nats' CF Denard Span has posted a .275/.355/.369 against LHP in his career, but so far this season, the 29-year-old outfielder has a .140/.204/.160 line vs left-handed pitchers. Adam LaRoche had a .268/.319/.506 line vs southpaws in 2012, his first full season in D.C. after an injury-shortened 2011. In his career, the left-handed hitting 33-year-old first baseman has a .245/.300/.435 line against lefties. So far this season, LaRoche has a .184/.242/.322 line against LHP. Harper and LaRoche are in the Nats' lineup this afternoon against LA Dodgers' left-hander Clayton Kershaw. Span is sitting, so Harper's playing center in the series finale with Los Angeles.
Scott Hairston, who has a .188/.242/.482 line against lefties this year and a .268/.318/.498 career line against lefties, is penciled in as the Nationals' left fielder for the third game of three with the Dodgers in D.C.:
#Nationals lineup vs. LAD: Harper 8, Rendon 4, Zim 5, Werth 9, LaRoche 3, Desmond 6, Hairston 7, Suzuki 2, Zimmermann 1— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) July 21, 2013
It doesn't get any easier for Washington today, as Los Angeles follows Ricky Nolasco and Zack Greinke with Clayton Kershaw. The Nationals were shut down by the Dodgers' 25-year-old left-hander earlier this season when the Nats were in LA in mid-May. Kershaw threw 8 2/3 scoreless innings in that outing, allowing just five hits and one walk while striking out 11 in a 4-2 win.
The Nationals turn to Jordan Zimmermann in the third game of three in D.C., hoping their All-Star right-hander can help them salvage one game of this series. Zimmermann is, of course, unbeaten at home since last May 17th when he dropped a decision to the Pirates. Zimmermann's (9-0) with a 1.75 ERA at home in the nation's capital this season. The Nats need a strong start from the right-hander this afternoon, and they need a win after dropping the first two to LA.