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Washington Nationals vs Los Angeles Dodgers Series Preview: Nats face Dodgers for first time since NLDS

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The Washington Nationals look to avenge their early playoff exit in a three-game series with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Los Angeles Dodgers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Nationals (35-20) vs. Dodgers (35-23) Series Info:

Game 1: Monday, June 5 at 10:00 p.m. EST (ESPN/106.7 The Fan)

Game 2: Tuesday, June 6 at 10:10 p.m. EST (MASN2/106.7)

Game 3: Wednesday, June 7 at 3:10 p.m. EST (MASN/106.7)

Pitching Matchups:

Monday: Gio Gonzalez (4-1, 3.03 ERA) vs. Hyun-Jin Ryu (2-5, 3.91)

Tuesday: Max Scherzer (6-3, 2.56) vs. Brandon McCarthy (5-2, 3.38)

Wednesday: Stephen Strasburg (7-1, 2.91) vs. Clayton Kershaw (7-2, 2.28)

What to watch for:

Three Cy Young candidates take the mound in L.A.

It’s no secret the Nationals and Dodgers boast some of the best starting pitchers in baseball, but that has been especially true this season with three of them highlighting the NL Cy Young race.

Clayton Kershaw is unanimously considered the best pitcher in the majors, but there’s a case to be made for reigning Cy Young winner Max Scherzer.

Scherzer leads the NL in WHIP (0.892), H/9 (5.9), strikeouts (100) and BAA (.186), while Kershaw tops the Senior Circuit in ERA (2.28), K/BB ratio (8.36) and quality starts (10).

Not to be forgotten is Stephen Strasburg, who’s on a quest to prove he can stay healthy for an entire season and sports an NL-best 2.63 FIP.

Daniel Murphy catching fire

With how well fellow stars Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman have hit to start the season, Daniel Murphy has somehow quietly been flying under the radar.

Over the past week, however, it’s been Murphy leading the way for the Nats’ offense with a .500 batting average (14-28), four extra-base hits and seven RBIs.

Harper has cooled off and Trea Turner has yet to turn his season around, but as long as Murphy keeps hitting this lineup will be a dangerous one.

Kenley Jansen locks down the ninth

There may not be a better closer in baseball right now than Kenley Jansen.

Owner of a 1.17 ERA, 15.7 K/9 and an absolutely absurd 0.27 FIP, Jansen has been worth every penny of the five-year, $80 million contract he signed with L.A. last offseason.

The Nationals’ bullpen issues still remain, but they’d better hope they don’t go into the ninth inning trailing.

Who to watch out for: Chris Taylor

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Milwaukee Brewers Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Somebody, please tell me where the Dodgers keep finding these guys.

Adrian Gonzalez hit the Disabled List early in the season, making room for Cody Bellinger to come up and become a staple in their lineup.

After second baseman Logan Forsythe made a trip to the DL with a broken toe, Chris Taylor was promoted and has since hit .318/.413/.543 with seven home runs in 42 games.

Forsythe has struggled in his return and Justin Turner is now on the shelf, leaving plenty of room for Taylor to find playing time.