Strasburg, Kershaw meet for first time as Dodgers host Nats (Jun 07, 2017)

BY AP • June 7, 2017

LOS ANGELES -- A matchup of premier pitchers will headline the contest between the Washington Nationals and the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday at Dodger Stadium.

Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg (7-1, 2.91 ERA) will oppose Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw (7-2, 2.28). It will be the first time the two stars have met head-to-head.

Last season, the two were slated to square off on June 20 at Dodger Stadium, but Strasburg was a late scratch due to a strained upper back.

Nationals manager Dusty Baker believes his hitters should embrace the challenge again of competing again against Kershaw.

"We're going against one of the best in the game," Baker said. "Personally, when I was playing, you wanted to rise to the occasion when you play the best.

"When I was with the Dodgers, facing (Tom) Seaver, (Nolan) Ryan, J.R. (Richard), (Steve) Carlton, and I'd think about them on the way home after the game, I would think about them in the morning when I got up, and I would think about them when I was on my way to the ballpark. You get up for those guys."

The Nationals haven't fared well against Kershaw, who is 10-2 with a 2.02 ERA in 14 career games against Washington.

Kershaw allowed a run on six hits with eight strikeouts and no walks in seven innings in a 4-1 Los Angeles victory in the June 2016 contest at Dodger Stadium.

In his last start, Kershaw struck out a season-high 14 batters with one walk and limited the Milwaukee Brewers to a run on two hits in seven innings on Friday. Kershaw did not factor into the decision, but the Dodgers earned a 2-1 win.

Strasburg has won his last four outings, and he has gone at least six innings in all but one of his 11 starts this season. Strasburg fanned seven and walked three, allowing two runs on four hits in seven innings of a 13-3 romp over the Oakland A's on Friday.

Strasburg hasn't lost a start since April 29 in a 5-3 setback to the New York Mets.

Against the Dodgers, Strasburg is 1-1 with a 3.06 ERA in five career starts. The last time he faced the Dodgers, Strasburg struck out 10 but yielded six runs on seven hits in a 6-3 defeat on July 21, 2016. Los Angeles third baseman Justin Turner tagged Strasburg for a pair of homers.

Despite the star power of Wednesday's series finale, it still will be hard to top Tuesday's contest, a 2-1 decision won by the Nationals behind 14 strikeouts in seven innings by Max Scherzer.

Sacrifice flies by Bryce Harper in the first and Daniel Murphy in the fourth inning were the difference for the Nationals, who are 7-1 on their nine-game road trip.

Adrian Gonzalez drove in the lone run for the Dodgers, who have dropped three in a row. Brandon McCarthy (5-3) took the loss despite a solid performance, giving up two runs and three hits in seven innings.

The teams had just four hits apiece.

"It was a very fun baseball game to watch, two guys going at it and pitching really well," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "Scherzer is one of the best in the game."



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