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The Washington Nationals attempt to end a three-game losing streak and move closer to clinching the National League East when they open a three-game series against the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday. The Nationals are five games ahead of the Atlanta Braves and their magic number for at least clinching a wild-card spot stands at three. The Dodgers are one game behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the NL’s second wild card.
Los Angeles swept a three-game series from the Nationals in late April in the only previous meetings this season. The Dodgers fear they have seen the last of ace Clayton Kershaw this season. Kershaw is slated to get a second opinion on his inflamed right hip Tuesday and might be facing season-ending surgery. Washington has lost nine of its last 11 games against the Dodgers. The Nationals were swept by Atlanta over the weekend, a development that helped keep the Braves somewhat close in the NL East.
Dodgers Nationals Betting
When: 7:05 PM ET, Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Where: Nationals Park, Washington, District of Columbia
TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, KCAL (Los Angeles), MASN (Washington)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Dodgers RH Aaron Harang (9-9, 3.79 ERA) vs. Nationals RH Jordan Zimmermann (10-8, 3.01)
Harang is winless in his last four starts despite allowing three runs or less in each of them. He lost to the Arizona Diamondbacks in his last outing when he gave up three runs and four hits in 5 2/3 innings. Harang hasn’t faced Washington this season and is 1-2 with a 3.89 ERA in seven career starts against the Nationals.
Zimmermann is 1-2 over his last six starts as his ERA has jumped from 2.35 to 3.01. He took a no-decision against the New York Mets in his last outing when he allowed two runs and six hits in five innings. Zimmermann hasn’t faced Los Angeles this season and gave up six runs in six innings in his lone career start against the Dodgers in 2009.
1. Nationals 1B Adam LaRoche is batting only .233 against Harang but six of his seven career hits are for extra bases, including three homers.
2. Dodgers SS Hanley Ramirez is batting .467 in 15 career at-bats against Zimmermann.
3. Washington 2B Danny Espinosa underwent an MRI on his ailing left shoulder is expected to miss the series with season-ending surgery still possible.