The Dodgers (85-54) had lost five of their past six games until they avoided being swept in three games at Miami by defeating the Marlins 10-0 on Thursday night.
Los Angeles’ pitching staff should shape up well for the weekend series after rookie Ryan Pepiot took a perfect game two outs into the seventh inning on Thursday.
“I was going to give him every opportunity to finish that game if it was a no-hitter, let alone a perfect game,” manager Dave Roberts said.
Of concern for the Dodgers could be the status of right fielder Mookie Betts, who fouled a ball off his foot in his last at-bat and didn’t finish the game. Betts reportedly was on crutches postgame.
The Nationals (63-77) snapped a six-game losing streak in their latest contest, winning 3-2 on Jacob Young’s walk-off single in the ninth inning against the New York Mets on Wednesday night. Washington improved to 1-5 on its nine-game homestand.
“We’ve been struggling,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “Seeing the guys fight back like that is great. We’ve got a tough team coming in this weekend.”
Young began the season in Class-A, and now he has joined other prospects in the major leagues with the Nationals.
“It’s just a dream come true,” he said. “Just trying to take every advantage of it.”
The Nationals want to generate more excitement in these final few weeks of the season. Martinez opted for multiple pinch hitters in the most recent game.
“Just trying to see if one of these guys can hit a home run,” he said.
Pinch hitter Riley Adams didn’t complete a plate appearance before exiting with a hand injury. He was to be evaluated during the team’s day off on Thursday.
“Hopefully it’s nothing serious there,” Martinez said.
Another of the emerging Washington players is shortstop CJ Abrams, who has 40 stolen bases. He swiped two bags on Wednesday.
“I think there’s more in the tank,” Martinez said. “He gets on base and he wants to get to second base. That’s a big part of stealing.”
First baseman Freddie Freeman’s next double for the Dodgers will give him a single-season franchise record. He has 52, tied for the team mark with Johnny Frederick (1929).
Two young pitchers will be called upon for the series opener.
The Dodgers will go with right-hander Emmet Sheehan (3-1, 5.31 ERA), who will make his 10th career appearance and ninth start. The 23-year-old began his second major league stint of the season on Saturday, logging four innings of one-run ball in a no-decision against the Atlanta Braves.
Left-hander MacKenzie Gore (7-10, 4.28 ERA) will get the starting nod for the Nationals, who won in his most recent start Aug. 29 at Toronto. He tossed five innings of one-run ball to register his first victory since July 23.
With two days off this week (Monday and Thursday), the Nationals revamped their rotation and gave Gore extra time between starts.
In two big-league seasons, Gore has opposed the Dodgers only once. On July 3, 2022, he wound up with a no-decision after working 5 2/3 innings and allowing one run on five hits for the San Diego Padres at Los Angeles.
—Field Level Media
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