Game #148 AJ Cole gets the start; Rich Hill for the Dodgers

To think, today’s Dodgers’ starter, Rich Hill, was a member of the 2015 Syracuse Chiefs, and the Nats cut him loose. Hill has reinvented himself as one of the nastiest pitchers in baseball with a spinning hook that just baffles batters badly when he is on point. Hill’s ERA is at 3.67 this season and has been inconsistent, and who can forget that 9-inning no-hitter he lost in the 10th inning on a walk-off in Pittsburgh. His K/9 is at 10.7 this season and the key for batters is not helping Hill by swinging at balls out of the zone.

A.J. Cole is a dozen years younger than the 37-year-old Hill and coincidentally they were teammates on that 2015 Syracuse Chiefs team. Cole has one job this afternoon for the Nats, and that is to pitch better than Rich Hill. It’s a tall order, but Cole has shown the ability to pitch well during his first 4 innings of work.

The Nationals offensive production from the veterans has been slumping of late with players like Rendon, Kendrick, and Werth all hitting below their season averages. Daniel Murphy is batting .333 this month but what is troubling is that he has had 4 games in the first half of September where he has struck out 2 or more times and that just isn’t the Daniel Murphy we know. He has been particularly struggling with lefty pitchers — but again, overall he is hitting fine. Unfortunately for Matt Wieters, he can’t buy a hit and has been playing with a sore back. In the 2nd half of this season, Wieters is batting .197. For full-time catchers, he is the lowest rated (h/t Wadlez) by FanGraph’s WAR at a -0.2 and for catchers with at least 250 at-bats, Wieters is the second worst in all of baseball.

Here are the Nats offensive stats for the month of September:

Manager Dusty Baker is going to have to figure out his offense as the players have all been getting rest other than Trea Turner who has played in every game since he returned from the DL.

With a day-game after a night game, expect Dusty Baker to make a few tweaks to today’s line-up card. Also of note, today’s game is the national broadcast and will only be on FOX and tomorrow’s game is also the national broadcast and will be shown on ESPN. The Nationals looked bad on last night’s national broadcast on the MLB Network as Bob Costas and John Smoltz had few kind words for what they saw. The Dodgers just came off of an 11-game losing streak and have now started a 3-game winning streak. The Nationals will have to do much better in all facets of the game to win today says Captain Obvious.

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Washington Nationals
Stadium:   Nationals Park
1st Pitch: 1:05 pm EDT
TV: FOX national broadcast, MLB.TV
Nats Radio: 106.7 FM The Fan; SiriusXM®  Sirius 219 XM 185 (Internet 869)

Line-ups subject to change (without notice):

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