point in the season.
With a 27-19 record at home this year, the Nationals know this is the time to
make up some ground.
The Nats will hope to do just that on Saturday night against the Dodgers at
Nationals Park. Washington took a 3-2 loss on Friday after closer Rafael Soriano
surrendered a solo home run to Andre Ethier in the top of the ninth inning.
"If you're doing the things I know you're capable of doing, it doesn't matter
to me whether we're at home or on the road," Nationals manager Davey Johnson
said. "We need to win ballgames. And that's the challenge we've got in front of
us. We've got 11 games here, so we need to play good here and we need to play
good all the way, not just this coming homestand."
Gio Gonzalez gets the nod for the Nationals, while Zack Greinke takes the
hill for the Dodgers. Both pitchers have been unbeatable in the last month, with
Gonzalez going 4-0 with a 2.00 ERA in his last four starts, and Greinke going
5-0 with a 2.50 ERA in his past five starts.
Resembling the pitcher that won 20 games for Washington last season, Gonzalez
(7-3, 3.03 ERA) has allowed two earned runs or fewer in 11 of his last 13
starts. He also has a 2.18 ERA since May 1.
Meanwhile, Greinke (8-2, 3.49 ERA) is coming off one of his best
performances, tossing his fourth career shutout against the Rockies on Saturday
in a 1-0 win.
"I stayed good all the way through. I haven't done that in a while," Greinke
said after the game. "I felt good out there. It was a fun game."
With just one loss in his last 10 starts, the right-hander has been a huge
reason for the Dodgers' recent surge in the NL West.
"From where we were, I think 12 games under [.500], and the way we were able
to finish up, we kind of bounced together and put ourselves in a position to be
in the race," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "So to get ourselves back in
it coming up to the break, that's a small accomplishment in itself. But I want
to keep that in context -- and we've talked about it as a team -- because we
haven't accomplished anything yet besides getting ourselves back in the race and
putting ourselves in position. Hopefully from here we can continue to play well
and stay healthy and see what we can do."
Dodgers: Kemp eyes Sunday return
• Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp hit against live pitching before Friday's game
against the Nationals, saying he feels ready to return on Sunday, which is the first
day he is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list.
Kemp, who is out with an irritated AC joint in his left shoulder, does not
believe he will need to go on a Minor League rehabilitation assignment.
"He's probably had enough of [rehab assignments]," Mattingly said. "There's a
lot of guys who think they don't necessarily need them. Nobody wants them."
• The Dodgers got three regulars back in their starting lineup for Friday
night's series opener. Left fielder Carl Crawford (stiff lower back), right
fielder Yasiel Puig (sore left hip) and second baseman Mark Ellis (left knee)
all were back in the lineup after missing some time with minor injuries late in
the first half.
Nationals: Detwiler unlikely for next start
• Johnson said on Friday that it is unlikely that Ross Detwiler will be able to come off the
15-day disabled list and make his scheduled start on Tuesday.
"For me, he would have to throw today or tomorrow, and do a side [session]
and then get out and pitch in a game. And I don't think we're going to do it by
[next weekend]," Johnson said. "But I'm going to put that question to our great
medical staff, see if they can't get him ready to go."
Detwiler has been on the disabled list since July 4 with a lingering back
strain. He played catch on flat ground on Thursday, but still had soreness in
his back after throwing.
• Nats outfielder Jayson Werth is hitting .326 (44-for-135) with seven doubles,
six home runs, 23 RBIs, 21 runs and 19 walks in 38 games since returning from the DL.
• Dodgers left-hander Ted Lilly threw a simulated game before Friday's
contest. Dealing with a neck injury, Lilly threw about 20 pitches and used his