WASHINGTON, D.C.: After clinching the NL East crown, the Washington Nationals were 1-3 heading into this afternoon’s matchup with the Los Angeles Dodgers, after getting shut out by LA’s lefty Alex Wood last night in the series opener in the nation’s capital.
This afternoon, the Nationals, who have a .276/.331/.456 line vs left-handers so far in 2017, good for 2nd/6th/2nd across the line amongst NL teams, are facing left-hander Rich Hill, who’s dropped four straight starts, in spite of the fact that he gave up two runs or less in three of the four outings, holding opposing hitters to a .179/.225/.369 line against in 23 2⁄3 IP over that stretch.
Nats’ skipper Dusty Baker was asked before today’s game what he expected to see Hill do on the mound.
“Hill doesn’t have as much offspeed as Wood,” Baker said, after noting last night that Wood’s changeup was particularly effective over his six scoreless innings.
“But [Hill] has a bigger curveball, so his offspeed is his curveball,” Baker added.
“So I imagine that they’re all going to pitch us about the same cause of the success they had last night, and probably a lot of that has to do with watching [Clayton] Kershaw.
“I’d certainly watch him and emulate him, and heck, they got four left-handers over there, so yeah, it will be much the same, I guess.”
With a chance to even things up in the series, and give themselves a lead in the season series with the Dodgers, Baker was asked what he wanted to see from his team today, and in the games remaining before the Nationals return to the postseason for a fourth time in the last six seasons.
“I’m just looking for a win and to get off this losing,” Baker told reporters. Cause that don’t sit well with me too much, losing.
“We’re past celebrating, that’s over, so now we’ve got to take care of business. And the one day we did win,” Baker added, “it was mostly young guys that brought the energy, but most of the young guys aren’t going to be who is going to be with us in the playoffs.
“So we should be rested, and I want to see some more energy. We’ve been roughed up pretty good this last week. I think we’ve given up seven runs, and eight runs, and eight runs or something like that, and haven’t played very good defense, fundamental ball, so we’ve got to tighten our game up.”