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Dodgers vs. Nationals Series Preview: Which team can overcome its injuries?

The Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers have both been bitten particularly hard by the injury bug this season.

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Miami Marlins Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Dodgers (17-26) vs. Nationals (24-18) series info:

Game 1: Friday, May 18 at 7:05 p.m. EST (MASN/106.7 The Fan)

Game 2: Saturday, May 19 at 7:05 p.m. EST (MASN/106.7)

Game 3: Sunday, May 20 at 1:35 p.m. EST (MASN/106.7)

Pitching matchups:

Friday: Ross Stripling (0-1, 2.20 ERA) vs. Max Scherzer (7-1, 1.69)

Saturday: Rich Hill (1-2, 6.20) vs. Tanner Roark (2-3, 3.33)

Sunday: Alex Wood (0-4, 3.35) vs. Stephen Strasburg (5-3, 3.28)

What to watch for:

The Nats benefit (or suffer?) from some extra rest

If Friday night’s game is played as regularly scheduled — something that could be in doubt thanks to the weather forecast — the Nats will enter play against the Dodgers having played just six innings since Sunday. Between two scheduled off days and multiple inclement weather postponements, Washington hasn’t spent much time on the field this week. Although the bullpen is catching a much-needed breather, the starting rotation is tasked with maintaining its routines despite the extra days off.

To say the Dodgers are struggling a bit …

… might be the understatement of the year. Los Angeles has fallen from pennant winner to basement dweller, posting a record through its first 43 games that has it on pace to contend for a top-5 pick in next year’s MLB Draft. Since taking two of three against the Nats last month, the Dodgers have gone just 7-16 with five series losses to sub-.500 teams. Put it this way: If Los Angeles plays .600 baseball the rest of the year, the club will only finish the year with 88 wins. It’s not a good look for a team that could be tasked with re-signing Clayton Kershaw after the season.

Tanner Roark looks 2014-esque

While 2017 was a down year for Tanner Roark, the Nats’ trusty No. 4 starter has been showing flashes of his former self. Since allowing five earned runs in his second start of the season, Roark has posted a 2.97 ERA and an opponent’s batting average of .197. Only four National League pitchers have more starts of six or more innings allowing two runs or less than Roark, who has done so five times already on the season.

Series history:

The Dodgers lead the all-time series (2005-present) 49-31 but the Nats could score a winning record at home (currently 19-20 at Nationals Park) by sweeping Los Angeles.

Washington dropped two of three games played between the two clubs in April, picking up its only victory behind six innings of one-run ball courtesy of Scherzer.