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Nationals vs. Dodgers Series Preview: Which team overcomes its disappointing start?

Raise your hand if you thought the Nats and Dodgers would have a combined .472 winning percentage entering their first series.

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Los Angeles Dodgers Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Nationals (9-10) vs. Dodgers (8-9) series info:

Game 1: Friday, April 20 at 10:10 p.m. EST (MASN2/106.7 The Fan)

Game 2: Saturday, April 21 at 9:10 p.m. EST (MASN2/106.7)

Game 3: Sunday, April 22 at 8:05 p.m. EST (ESPN/106.7)

Pitching matchups:

Friday: Max Scherzer (3-1, 1.33 ERA) vs. Clayton Kershaw (1-2, 1.73)

Saturday: Stephen Strasburg (2-1, 3.08) vs. Hyun-Jin Ryu (2-0, 2.87)

Sunday: Jeremy Hellickson (0-0, 3.86) vs. Alex Wood (0-2, 3.91)

What to watch for:

Scherzer v. Kershaw is as good as it gets

According to, Friday night will mark just the 10th time two three-time Cy Young winners square off in a game. Corey Kluber and Chris Sale certainly belong in the conversation for the best pitcher in baseball, but neither boast the accolades Scherzer and Kershaw have accumulated in their respective careers. Buckle up, folks. We’re in for a good one.

Nats getting some of their regulars back

After being placed on the disabled list retroactive to April 9, Adam Eaton is eligible to return to the active roster whenever he’s returned to full health. Anthony Rendon has missed the last four games due to a toe injury but could be slotted back into the lineup as early as Friday. Daniel Murphy is in West Palm Beach, fielding grounders and inching closer and closer to returning as well. There’s been no official word on when any of these names will hit the field once again, but the Nationals’ injured stars appear to be progressing smoothly.

What’s going on with Kenley Jansen?

Of all the things that have gone wrong for the Dodgers thus far this season, their closer’s performance has been the most alarming. Jansen has allowed six runs in six and two-thirds innings (8.10 ERA), walking more batters (3) than he did through his first 40 appearances in 2017. If the starting pitching keeps things close, Dodgers fans will be on the edge of their seats waiting to see if Jansen can get back on track.

Series history:

The Dodgers lead the all-time series (2005-present) 47-30, outscoring Washington 4.2 runs per game to 3.7. The two teams split the six games they played against each other last season, with each club taking two of three at the other’s home ballpark.

In their words…

Eric Stephen, True Blue LA

The Dodgers are finally starting to hit the ball, after an up-and-down first few weeks. Corey Seager has been hitting the ball hard and is seeing the results after some early bad luck. Yasiel Puig is probably due as well. That said, facing Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg to open the series isn’t the best recipe for offensive success.