After a difficult end to a difficult road trip, the Los Angeles Dodgers aim to right the ship at home when they begin a series Monday against Washington. The Dodgers finished 2-4 on their trip – capped by Sunday night’s 13-6 loss in a game they once led 5-1 – but still lead by three games in the National League West over the slumping San Francisco Giants.
They may need to press on without second baseman Howie Kendrick, who left Sunday’s contest with a left hamstring strain. The Nationals start their second 10-game road trip in a short span and hope this one goes a bit better than the last. That 3-7 excursion dropped Washington into a tie atop the NL East and Sunday’s 6-4 loss to Colorado left the club 1 1/2 games behind the New York Mets. The Nationals lost two of three against the Dodgers last month, dropping the final two games against All-Stars Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, who start the last two contests in this series.
TV: 10:10 p.m. ET, MASN (Washington), SportsNet LA (Los Angeles)
LINE HISTORY: Books opened the Dodgers -127 but that has moved to -125. The total opened at 7.
WEATHER WATCH: Temperatures will be in the mid-60s. Wind will blow out to right field at around 6 miles per hour.
INJURY REPORT: Dodgers – 2B Howie Kendrick (Questionable, hamstring).
WHAT CAPPERS SAY: “OF Joc Pederson, who set SoCal on fire in the first half of the season, is about as cold as a block of dry ice in an igloo right now. The Dodgers were unable to get out of Pittsburgh with a win, and now continue a tough stretch which includes eight games against the Nats, A’s, and Stros. Things are looking up as Werth, Zimmerman, and Rendon have all returned from the DL and the Nats now have a proven, reliable closer in Jonathan Papelbon. But the best news is that SP Stephen Strasburg pitched a gem on Saturday with 12 strikeouts in his first start back since July 4.” Covers Expert Big Al McMordie.
Gio Gonzalez’s girlfriend Berenice Lea Moures and Zack Grenkie’s wife Emily.
PITCHING MATCHUP: Nationals LH Gio Gonzalez (8-4, 3.75 ERA) vs. Dodgers LH Brett Anderson (6-6, 3.06)
Gonzalez allowed two runs in five innings with seven strikeouts in a no-decision against Arizona on Wednesday. It marked the seventh consecutive start in which he has allowed two earned runs or fewer, going 4-0 with a 1.77 ERA in that stretch. The former first-round pick has a 2.50 ERA in three career starts against the Dodgers.
Anderson, who was Gonzalez’s former teammate with Oakland, has revived his career with a solid run in Los Angeles, including a win at Philadelphia on Wednesday. He allowed a run and four hits in six innings, posting his seventh quality start in the last eight overall. Anderson has never faced the Nationals.
* Nationals are 6-20 in the last 26 meetings in Los Angeles.
* Nationals are 0-5 in their last five during Game 1 of a series.
* Dodgers are 5-0 in Anderson’s last five starts with four days of rest.
* Over is 7-1 in Nationals’ last eight overall.
COVERS CONSENSUS: Sixty-two percent of Covers users are backing the Dodgers.