Manager: Dave Roberts (3rd season)
Who to watch: 1B Cody Bellinger (.304/.342/.464), SS Corey Seager (7 RBIs), C Yasmani Grandal (.352/.435/.611with 3 HR, 13 RBIs), LF Matt Kemp (.347/.389/.592, 10 RBI, 3 HR) , LHP Clayton Kershaw (1-2, 1.33 ERA)
Season series vs. Nationals: 1st meeting (3-3 in 2017)
April 20: RHP Max Scherzer (3-1) vs. LHP Clayton Kershaw (1-2), 10:10 p.m., MASN2
April 21: RHP Stephen Strasburg (2-1) vs. LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (2-0), 9:10 p.m., MASN2
April 22: RHP Jeremy Hellickson (0-0) vs. LHP Alex Wood (0-2), 8:08 p.m., ESPN
Inside the Dodgers:
Riding a four-game win streak, the Dodgers got a day off Thursday to prepare for their first series against the Nationals this season. Los Angeles is hoping to build off of its sweep of the Padres and four straight victories. A win in Friday night’s series opener will get the Dodgers back to .500 for the first time since April 1.
Yasmani Grandal came up huge Tuesday night against San Diego, with a clutch two-run double in the top of the 12th inning. Grandal is in the zone this week after hitting a grand slam in the 10-3 victory on Monday, the third of his career. Matt Kemp is in the midst of a hot streak, going yard twice in the three-game series against the Padres. Despite strong numbers, Cody Bellinger and his sophomore slump continue. Bellinger hopes the home series against the Nats can get him back into a rhythm. Corey Seager, who dealt with soreness in his elbow throughout the back half of last season and back problems that kept him sidelined in the National League Championship Series last year, opted not to go for offseason elbow surgery, and did not start throwing in games until the middle of March. Seager was 4-for-5 with two doubles, three RBIs and a run in Wednesday’s blowout against the Padres. Although he entered the series finale with a .212 average, he remains the team’s No. 2 hitter. Chris Taylor, has remained the leadoff hitter for the club despite his poor start to the new season, but does have three home runs.
Rich Hill was supposed to get the start on Friday in the series opener but was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a finger injury. Hill, 38, has suffered from blisters over the past few seasons. Clayton Kershaw will be getting the start on Friday, the first of three lefties to face the Nats this weekend. He’s been stellar to start the new season, posting a 1.73 ERA despite a 1-2 record, and has worked at least six innings in each of his four starts this season. He’ll match up against the Nats ace and reigning National League player of the week, Max Scherzer. Kershaw has an 11-2 record and 1.97 ERA in 15 games (14 starts) in his career against the Nats. Hyun-Jin Ryu had nine strikeouts in the win against San Diego. Originally slated to start Sunday, he’s moved up a day to matchup against Stephen Strasburg. Ryu held the Padres to two runs on three hits over a span of six innings, and without issuing a walk. He’s 0-1 with a 3.09 ERA in two lifetime starts versus Washington. Alex Wood starts Sunday for L.A. Last year, he started the season 11-0 and made the All-Star team; this season, he’s 0-2 in four outings that have been all over the map. Wood has been successful against the Nats, going 4-3 with a 2.51 ERA in 10 career starts.
Manager Dave Roberts is hoping Kenley Jansen can get back on track after blowing his second save of the season on Tuesday against San Diego. His poor play as of late could be the result of his hamstring issue that he dealt with during the spring or it could be a result of his arm strength after pitching in five consecutive postseasons.