LOS ANGELES – What’s that you say? The Nationals have a chance tonight at a three-game winning streak? Why yes, that’s exactly what’s at stake this evening when they face the Dodgers in the second game of this series.
It’s going to take another stellar effort to beat L.A., of course, and that starts with the pitching staff, most notably starter Josiah Gray. After using up five relievers to pull off Monday night’s 4-1 victory – and having now used both Carl Edwards Jr. and Kyle Finnegan on back-to-back days – the Nats need quality and length tonight from Gray, who makes his return to Chavez Ravine.
The former Dodgers prospect made his first two career big league appearances here last summer (prior to the trade) and didn’t fare so well. He also didn’t fare so well when he faced the Dodgers in D.C. earlier this season, giving up seven runs in three innings, with three homers hit off him. Gray feels like he’s been able to shake off those jitters since, and heads into tonight’s start feeling better about the state of things, though he has struggled in two of his last three outings after a fantastic June.
The lineup looks similar to Monday’s arrangement, with Victor Robles batting leadoff again (as Davey Martinez promised). The most notable change, though, is the absence of Nelson Cruz. It’s been a miserable open to the second half for the 42-year-old, who is 0-for-14 with two walks and five strikeouts since the All-Star break. Obviously, he’s a name who has been on the trading block all year, though the way he’s been performing makes you wonder just how much interest there’s going to be in him now.
WASHINGTON NATIONALS at LOS ANGELES DODGERS
Where: Dodger Stadium
Gametime: 10:10 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB Network (outside D.C. and L.A. markets), MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, MLB.com
Weather: Clear, 71 degrees, wind 7 mph out to center field