Game #3 Can Gio step up for the Nationals: Game Thread

There is reason for optimism today with the left-handed Gio Gonzalez pitching as the Dodgers this year have only hit .213 against left-handed pitching. Gio also gets Ron Kulpa today as his homeplate umpire, and  Kulpa in a small sample size of 3 starts has equated to a 2.65 for Gio Gonzalez. There are nine umpires that have called at least three of Gio’s starts where he has fared better, but David Rackley and Alan Porter are not available for Gio today and he has 1.33 ERAs with each of them. Add to that, Gio has a lifetime 2.25 ERA at Dodger Stadium, and you have a reason to be positive as a Nats’ fan.

If Stephen Strasburg was healthy, chances are he would have pitched yesterday or today, but since he is still recovering from his forearm injury, Dusty Baker is going with his only lefty starter today in Gio Gonzalez. In the home dugout today, Dave Roberts will counter with a platoon line-up which will include Howie Kendrick, Charlie Culberson and Yasiel Puig. You have to give Dave Roberts credit as he is not afraid of mixing and matching his line-up.

In the visitor’s dugout, Dusty Baker went with the same position players as yesterday, but has returned to Jayson Werth in the two-hole against the right-handed starter Kenta Maeda and stacking his best two lefties (Murphy and Harper) in the #3 and #4 spots in the line-up. Wouldn’t you want to put more lefties in the front of the line-up as right-handers have a .580 OPS against Maeda versus lefties at the much higher .730 OPS. This just seems to be a return to the old line-up of 1-5 batters. By the way, no Nationals player has ever faced Maeda before.

The Dodgers media people have no problem posting tabloid fodder with no name attached who said it. There are cynics in every pressbox and many blogs, but at least speak your mind if you have something to say to be genuine.

On top of that, the Los Angeles media have been hyping that Tanner Roark threw at Corey Seager, but Jerry Hairston just calls it a “purpose pitch”. I’m all for purpose pitches to move a batter off the plate, but let’s not insinuate for media hype like some were doing that Roark tried to hit him when the ball sailed over his head.

In another odd Dusty Baker response, he said today that if he knew that the Nationals were going to play 3 games in a row he would have gone with an extra bullpen arm, but anyone who followed the news knew well before line-ups were announced that Hurricane Matthew could cause a rain-out on Saturday, and that was a high probability.

Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers 
Stadium: Dodger Stadium, Chavez Ravine, CA
1st Pitch:  4:08 pm EDT
TV:  MLB Network, MLB.TV

Line-ups  (subject to change without notice):

  1. Trea Turner CF
  2. Jayson Werth LF
  3. Daniel Murphy 2B
  4. Bryce Harper RF
  5. Anthony Rendon 3B
  6. Ryan Zimmerman 1B
  7. Danny Espinosa SS
  8. Jose Lobaton C
  9. Gio Gonzalez LHP
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