The Nationals won Game 4 of the NLDS against the Cardinals yesterday in thrilling fashion thanks to a walkoff solo home run from Jayson Werth. And Nationals Park is rocking again after one inning tonight.
Werth led off the bottom of the first inning with a double off Adam Wainwright before the scuffling Bryce Harper drove him home with a triple off the center field wall. Ryan Zimmerman then connected on a two-run homer to center field to give the Nationals a 3-0 lead. Three batters, three runs. That’s pretty darn efficient.
Wainwright responded by striking out Adam LaRoche, Michael Morse and Ian Desmond to end the inning, but he has already dug himself an early hole. Meanwhile, Gio Gonzalez has a nice cushion to work with as he heads back to the mound for the top of the second inning.
Clayton Kershaw had nothing left to prove when he exited the mound during his last Cactus League start on Friday. He finished camp with a 0.00 ERA, made all the more impressive after he extended his scoreless streak to 21 1/3 innings following 6 2/3 frames of one-hit ball against the Royals.
In six spring training starts this year, the Dodgers southpaw racked up 12 hits, four walks and 23 strikeouts. His velocity appeared to fluctuate between the high-80s and low-90s from start to start, but manager Dave Roberts told reporters that he expects Kershaw to get back up to the 93 m.p.h. range next week. Kershaw is tabbed for his eighth consecutive Opening Day start on Thursday.
The 30-year-old lefty is poised to enter his 11th season with the club in 2018. He went 18-4 in 27 starts last year and turned in a 2.31 ERA, 1.5 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 over 175 innings. He suffered his fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, including a lower back strain that required a five-week stay on the disabled list.
The Dodgers will open their season against the Giants on Thursday, March 29 at 7:08 PM ET. Given the sudden rash of injuries that hit the Giants’ rotation earlier today, Kershaw’s Opening Day opponent has not yet been announced.