The Los Angeles Dodgers are on a roll and look to win for the eighth time in the past nine games when they close a three-game set against the Washington Nationals on Wednesday. Los Angeles has won five consecutive games, the latest coming Tuesday when catcher Yasmani Grandal slugged a three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning as the Dodgers rallied for a 3-2 victory.
The Nationals have scored just nine runs while matching a season-worst with four consecutive losses, the first two defeats coming against the lowly San Diego Padres. Washington right fielder Bryce Harper hit an opposite-field homer in Tuesday’s contest, just his second blast in the month of June. Los Angeles right fielder Yasiel Puig (hamstring) was activated from the disabled list, went 1-for-3 and indicated that he’s ready to turn around a season that has him batting just .238 with five homers and 20 RBIs. “I’m working hard with the bat. I’ve always worked hard,” Puig told reporters. “I hope that this second half I will do a lot better. It’s been hard watching from home or from the minor leagues and not being able to help my team.”
TV: 10:10 p.m. ET, ESPN, MASN2 (Washington), SportsNet LA (Los Angeles)
Nationals – RP J. Papelbon (15-Day DL, ribs).
Dodgers – RP H. Ryu (15-Day DL, shoulder), RF A. Ethier (Late June, shin).
WEATHER REPORT: As usual, it is expected to be a beautiful evening for baseball in Los Angeles. Clear shies, temperatures in the 80’s, a 2 percent chance of rain, and a gentle 5 mph breeze blowing out to center field.
HOT FAN BATTLE:
PITCHING MATCHUP: Nationals RH Joe Ross (6-4, 3.13 ERA) vs. Dodgers LH Julio Urias (0-2, 4.50)
Ross has won three consecutive decisions since suffering through a four-start losing skid. He has pitched well on the road with a 4-2 mark and 2.80 ERA in eight outings. Ross lost his lone outing against the Dodgers on Aug. 11 when he was touched up for five runs and six hits in 4 2/3 innings as Puig went 2-for-3 with five RBIs — a two-run homer and three-run triple.
Urias will make at least one more start for the Dodgers after this outing before likely being moved to the bullpen to decrease the number of innings he pitches this season. The 19-year-old struck out a career-best eight while blanking the Milwaukee Brewers on five hits over five innings in his last turn. Urias, who a 1.88 ERA over his last three outings, has fanned 29 batters in 22 innings.
* Nationals are 0-4 in their last 4 road games.
* Nationals are 5-0 in Ross’ last 5 starts.
* Dodgers are 7-0 in their last 7 vs. National League East.
* Over is 17-4-1 in Nationals last 22 games vs. a starter with a WHIP greater than 1.30.
* Under is 8-2 in Dodgers last 10 vs. a team with a winning record.
* Under is 4-0 in the last 4 meetings in Los Angeles.
COVERS CONSENSUS: Early Covers wagering is on the Joe Ross and the road underdog Washington Nationals with 59 percent of the action. Over 7.5 is leading the way in totals picks at a rate of 57 percent. View full consensus data here.