This was the road trip on the calendar that Dusty Baker referred to as the “business trip” where he asked his players that if they wanted to visit Disneyland and other sites they should do it in the off-season. In past years, players have had their significant others and families tag along on the California portion of the road trip, and this year the players heard the message loud and clear from their boss. The results have been excellent with a sweep of the Giants in San Francisco and winning 2 of the 3 games in Oakland for a 5-in-1 road record to date.
There also seems to be a common theme with this 2017 Washington Nationals team that when the starting pitching is great—the team finds a way to win. It is not an absolute, but it has trended that way as the Nats starting 3 of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Tanner Roark have combined for 19 wins at the 1/3 point of the season which projects them collectively to be at 57 wins as a trio which would be record breaking in this new-age of baseball if they finished strong and all finished as 20-game winners.
Last night the team took the short flight from Oakland into Los Angeles and have tonight’s game at 7:10 pm local time. The players will be able to sleep-in which was a goal of Dusty Baker‘s on treating this like a business trip with few distractions. With every business trip there can be some fun and bonding time with the other employees which has allowed for an opportunity to see some NBA basketball for the championship round, some golf, and even some fishing in the San Francisco Bay for Dusty Baker and some coaches who went after some sea bass that Dusty calls stripers which are known to Delmarva fishing enthusiasts as rockfish.
The Los Angeles portion of the trip is also a chance for players to meet with their L.A. based agents of which there are several including the Boras Agency down the road in Newport Beach. All of the scheduled Nats starting pitchers for the Dodgers series are represented by Scott Boras. Many of the other players are rep’d by CAA Sports which has offices in NYC, but CAA is the Creative Artist’s Agency and started as a Hollywood representation firm headquartered in Los Angeles.
The match-up for tonight’s game are both lefties. Gio Gonzalez for the Washington Nationals and Hyun-Jin Ryu for the Dodgers. The Dodgers used to struggle against lefty pitchers, and they are much improved this season at a .247 BA against lefties. The Nationals are the best team in the Majors with a .834 OPS and a .283 batting average.
There is little match-up data against Ryu except to say the Nationals lefty batters have hit him well in a small sample size.
As far as the roster moves, the Nationals will place Jayson Werth on the 10-day DL and it is unknown what the corresponding move would be. Ryan Raburn is the leading candidate.
Official: Washington Nationals place Jayson Werth on the DL. Ryan Raburn takes his place. Rafael Martin DFA'd from 40-man roster.
— TALK NATS ⚾ (@TalkNats2) June 5, 2017
We have also heard from a source that closer Koda Glover will be available out of the bullpen if needed. As we know, that can change come game time. Glover threw 22 pitches for the Nationals and was charged with 5 earned runs while credited with only 1/3 of an inning of work.
If you look ahead, tomorrow night’s match-up features the reigning Cy Young winner Max Scherzer versus righty Brandon MCarthy. The series finale is on Wednesday afternoon and is scheduled to be Stephen Strasburg against the best pitcher in baseball, Clayton Kershaw. You may recall last year the excitement from Vin Scully as he anticipated that same Strasburg and Kershaw showdown but it never happened as Strasburg was scratched with back tightness.
Onward to the remaining 3 work days of the business trip!
Washington Nationals at Los Angeles Dodgers
Stadium: Dodger Stadium, 1000 Vin Scully Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012
1st Pitch: 10:10 pm EDT
TV: MASN, ESPN, SportsNet LA, MLB.TV
Nats Radio: 106.7 FM The Fan; SiriusXM® (Internet 869)
Line-ups (subject to change without notice):
- Trea Turner SS
- Ryan Raburn LF
- Bryce Harper RF
- Ryan Zimmerman 1B
- Daniel Murphy 2B
- Anthony Rendon 3B
- Matt Wieters C
- Michael Taylor CF
- Gio Gonzalez LHP