Video Credit: MLB

FSM Essential Recap: Dodgers vs Nationals – Series 3 Recap

Los Angeles Dodgers (8-2)  |  Washington Nationals (1-5)


I bleed Dodger blue and when I die, I’m going to the big Dodger in the sky.

– Tommy Lasorda


Game 3:


Dodgers vs Nationals
Photo Credit: Los Angeles Dodgers

A pitcher’s duel, that is what everyone thought of when they who was pitching on Sunday. For most baseball fans, it’s a thing of beauty. That is also what we were hoping for when we saw that pitching match-up, and that is exactly what we got Sunday afternoon at Chavez Ravine. The Nationals sent their ace, Max Scherzer, to the mound to face off against the Dodgers ace, Clayton Kershaw, and neither pitcher disappointed on a picture-perfect day at Dodger Stadium.

Scherzer went 6 innings, striking out 5, walking one, and giving up a lone run, a “sun ball,” hit off the bat of Dodgers rookie utilityman Zach McKinstry that Nats center fielder Victor Robles lost in the high sky scoring Max Muncy. For Kershaw, he also went 6 scoreless innings, striking out 6, walking none, and getting out of a jam by striking out Juan Soto and Jody Mercer to end the top half of the sixth, stranding Trea Turner at second base. As he walked off the mound, he let out a scream of adrenaline, knowing his day was done.

But the story once again was McKinstry. The Dodgers surprise player to start the 2021 season hit a 2-run home run in the bottom of the 7th to give the Dodgers a 3-0 lead. McKinstry is taking over the role that was filled by KiKi Hernandez for the past few seasons. Hernandez left this offseason after signing a 2-year, $14 million deal with the Boston Red Sox. The young utility player is doing any and everything needed to win ball games. He has played exceptional defense, bunted for base hits, ran the bases with great instincts, and shown surprising power. McKinstry has become an invaluable player early on for L.A.


Dodgers vs Nationals
Photo Credit: Michael Owens / Getty Images

Dodgers reliever Blake Treinen came on to pitch the eighth inning and got into trouble. He gave up a bloop single, followed by another single to right field to start the top half of the inning. He then had to face the Nats’ two best hitters, in Turner and Soto. He got Turner to strike out on a 3-2 count and the dangerous Soto to pop to center field on a 3-0 count. He was left to face Ryan Zimmerman, who hit a weak grounder slowly up the third baseline, where Treinen picked it up and threw him out getting out of the jam.

After an uneventful bottom of the eighth inning, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts went to longtime closer Kenley Jansen to preserve the lead and the series sweep. Jansen is not the same pitcher that he once was, and that has been evident for the past season and a half. The extra 2 runs that McKinstry provided with his home run gave the Dodgers skipper some room the breathe, but Dodgers fans remained on the edge of their seats.

Jansen would face Mercer, Starlin Castro, and Yadiel Hernandez. Jansen made quick work of Mercer, striking him out on three pitches with a 95 MPH, 2-seam fastball. Next up was Castro, who struck out on 4 pitches, all cutters at 94 MPH. Hernandez was all that was left between the Dodgers and a sweep. On the first pitch, he hit a ground ball right back to Jansen, and the Dodgers closer tossed the ball to Muncy, and L.A. had their sweep.


Game 3 Boxscore:


WP: Clayton Kershaw (2-1 / 2.89 ERA)

LP:  Max Scherzer (0-1 / 3.75 ERA)

SV: Kanley Jansen (0-0 / 2 /  1.93 ERA)

HR: Zach McKinstry (2)


The Dodgers are off Monday and will welcome the Colorado Rockies to Dodger Stadium for a 3 game series on Tuesday. Trevor Bauer is scheduled to pitch Game 1, Dustin May will start Game 2 and Julio Urias will pitch Game 3. The first pitch at 7:10 pm and you can watch the game on Spectrum SportsNet.



Game 2:


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Photo Credit:

On a night Dodger Stadium honored the late Tommy Lasorda, whose number two is retired by the team; the Dodgers picked the second inning for their largest inning of the season, helping them run their win streak to two, beating the Nationals 9-5 on Saturday night.

It was a team effort on offense for the Dodgers, who saw all eight starting position players score at least once. Eight Dodgers also scored in Monday’s win in Oakland, though that was a game that included the designated hitter, and only seven starters scored.

Patrick Corbin was activated from the injured list to start on Saturday, and the first inning of his first 2021 start was perfect. But it all went south in a hurry in the second, thanks to three walks to start the inning.

With one out, Zach McKinstry singled home a pair of runs to give the Dodgers the lead, then with two outs, Chris Taylor delivered the big blow, a three-run homer that gave the Dodgers their highest-scoring inning of the season to date.


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Photo Credit: California News-Times

That all five runs in the frame were driven in by the Dodgers’ right fielder and center fielder isn’t normally a surprise, though perhaps more so with Cody Bellinger on the injured list with a left calf contusion and Mookie Betts missing his third straight game with back tightness.

McKinstry, who has started the Dodgers’ last four games in right field, threw out Ryan Zimmerman at third base in the first inning on Saturday and made a sliding catch in to rob Hernan Pérez in the fifth.

“He’s getting better. Every inning he plays, he’ll get more comfortable,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said before the game. “I trust him out there.”

Corbin was chased with two more hits in the fifth, including an RBI double by Justin Turner, who has driven in a run in three straight games and has reached base in 39 consecutive regular-season games dating back to last year. Turner doubled twice on the night, has an extra-base hit in five straight games, and leads the team in doubles (five), extra-base hits (seven), RBI (nine), runs scored (seven) and is tied for the lead with two home runs while hitting .412/.447/.735.

The Dodgers have made opposing starting pitchers work this season, to the tune of a 6.75 ERA and just 4.3 innings per start on average.

On the other end of the spectrum was Julio Urías, whose 5⅔ innings on Saturday tied for the shortest outing by a Dodgers starting pitcher this season in what has been a productive beginning to the season for the rotation.


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Photo Credit: Waco Tribune

Washington bunched their hits together against Urías, including three hits for a run in the first inning. But the left-hander recovered to retire 11 straight batters at one point until Juan Soto launched a ball 407 feet into the right-field pavilion in the sixth inning.

The Nationals followed with three more singles off Urías for another run, snapping a string of seven straight starts by Dodgers of at least six innings. That cut the lead to 6-3, and after Jimmy Nelson hit his first batter in relief, he struck out Andrew Stevenson to end the threat in the sixth, then tacked on a scoreless seventh to boot.

The Dodgers busted it open by loading the bases against reliever Sam Clay in the seventh inning, followed by A.J. Pollock clearing the bases with a three-run double off Kyle Finnegan.

Soto struck again in the ninth inning with a two-run shot off Scott Alexander, one batter after a replay review overturned a potential game-ending double play, which caused a premature start to “I Love L.A.” over the Dodger Stadium speakers. But two batters later, the song played for real, and the Dodgers have another series win.


Game 2 Boxscore:


WP: Julio Urías (2-0 / 2.84 ERA)

LP:  Patrick Corbin (0-1 / 12.46 ERA)

HR: Chris Taylor (1); Juan Soto 2 (2)


The Dodgers conclude their 3 game series with the Nationals on Sunday afternoon with the first pitch slated to take place at 1:10 pm. It will be a battle of two former Cy Young award winners with Clayton Kershaw on the mound for the Dodgers, and Max Scherzer for the Nationals.


Game 1:


Dodgers vs Nationals
Photo Credit: L.A. Times

It was a picturesque day at Dodger Stadium Thursday afternoon. The temperature was a perfect 73 degrees, with a high blue sky filled with sun rays beaming down on Chavez Ravine. The smell of Dodger Dogs filled the air with a welcoming and familiar sound that we haven’t heard in over a year echoing through one of Major League Baseball’s crown jewels, the fans cheering and applauding the Dodgers getting their World Series rings and watching Lakers legend and one of the Dodgers owners, Magic Johnson along with Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti raise the World Series flag in centerfield.

For Dodgers fans and Los Angelino’s, it was perfect. The only thing missing was the late Tommy Lasorda sitting in his seat next to the Dodgers dugout and the longtime voice of the Dodgers, Vin Scully emceeing the ceremony.


Dodgers vs Nationals
Photo Credit: Los Angeles Dodgers

Let’s talk about the Dodgers World Series rings. Filled with diamonds, sapphires, 14-carat white, and yellow gold, this ring captures the immeasurable dedication and painstaking work it took to become world champions. The ring top features the Dodgers logo, crafted with 17 custom-cut genuine sapphires. 222 round diamonds, 10 princess-cut diamonds, 45 custom-cut genuine sapphires, 8 round genuine sapphires, making it a total of 11 carats of gemstones.

The ceremony was everything that Dodgers fans have been waiting for since their last title in 1988. The organization honored each player with a personal video tribute from current and former Major League Baseball players. One by one, each player heard from a contemporary congratulating them on becoming a world champion and then being honored by the Dodgers faithful in attendance with applause and cheers. The largest cheers were for Julio Urias, Long Beach native Justin Turner, and of course, the longtime Dodgers ace, Clayton Kershaw.


The nearly hour-long ceremony was the prelude to the Dodgers home opener against the team that beat them a year before, and eventually winning the 2019 World Series, the Washington Nationals.


Dodgers vs Nationals
Photo Credit: L.A. Times

Walker Buehler took the mound for the Dodgers in their home opener, and as expected, the young ace once again looked impressive. Buehler didn’t take the day off after getting his ring, as he was cruising through 6 innings, giving up 6 hits, and striking out 4 hitters. He was in complete command of the strike zone and seemed unhittable. But unfortunately for the Dodgers, the Nationals starter, Joe Ross, was also dealing. Ross through the first 5 innings, gave up just 2 hits, and struck out 4 while walking 2 Dodgers.

The Nationals went to their bullpen in the bottom half of the sixth, while the Dodgers did so in the top of the seventh. Luis Avilan took over for Ross, while Dodgers manager Dave Roberts went to Victor Gonzalez.

The Dodgers were without two-thirds of their outfield. Right fielder Mookie Betts was resting a sore back, and center fielder Cody Bellinger, who was placed on the 10-day injured list with a sore left calf. Justin Turner, who was responsible for both of the Dodgers hits earlier in the game off of Ross, stayed hot launching his 3rd home run of the young season with two outs in the 6th inning off Avilan, giving L.A. a 1-0 lead. Turner had all 3 Dodgers hits up until that point and is again proving to be one of Los Angeles’s catalysts after sign a two-year, $34 million contract just before Spring Training began.


Dodgers vs Nationals
Photo Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Blake Treinen came on to pitch the 8th inning and gave up a leadoff ground-rule double to pinch-hitter Yan Gomes. Victor Robles bunted to third base where Turner made a strong, off-balance throw to Max Muncy, but Robles was able to beat the throw to give the Nationals some life with runners on first and third and no out. But on the first pitch, Robles was thrown out trying to steal second by Dodgers catcher Will Smith, and Treinen struck out Trea Turner for the second out. After an intentional walk to the hot-hitting Juan Soto,  Treinen was set to face Ryan Zimmerman. Dodgers second baseman Gavin Lux was positioned perfectly as Zimmerman hit a seed up the middle, but right at Lux, who flipped the ball to Corey Seager, covering the second base for the third out, preserving the 1-0 lead.

All eyes were on who would close the game out for Roberts and the Dodgers. Kenley Jansen blew the save on Wednesday afternoon against the A’s, continuing his struggles dating back over a year and exposing the Dodgers only weakness, the role of the closer. Doc went to former Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Corey Knebel to close it out. Knebel struck out the side, and the Dodgers won on 4 hits, three of which came via Justin Turner, including the game’s only run, a solo blast in the 6th inning. The Dodgers improved to 6-2, while the Nationals are 1-3.

Walker Buehler commented after the game about having fans back in Dodger Stadium:

“To come to our fans on a day like this and a lot going on, and we got a win with everything on. Its just an exciting day and a rewarding day.”


Game 1 Boxscore:


WP: Walker Buehler (1-0 / 1.55 ERA)

LP: Luis Avilan (0-1 / 4.50 ERA)

SV: Corey Knebel (2 / 0.00 ERA)

HR: Turner (3)


The Dodgers and Nationals are back at it Saturday. Julio Urias will take the mound Dodgers, while the Nats have yet to announce who they will start. The first pitch is scheduled for 6:10 p.m and the game can be seen on SportsNet LA, MSAN and on MLB Extra Innings.


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Joe Arrigo

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