Clayton Kershaw can seal series victory

The Los Angeles Dodgers enter the field on Saturday with the opportunity to extend their winning streak to tied eight games of the season and secure a series victory over the Washington Nationals.

They do it with Clayton Kershaw on the mound looking to build a dominant performance in his last outing. Kershaw limited the Chicago Cubs to one run in eight innings and set a season-high with 13 strikeouts.

He improved to 9-7 over the season to accompany a 3.25 ERA and 0.98 WHIP in 17 starts. Kershaw had at least six innings in his five starts in June and finished the month with 47 strikeouts in 32 frames.

The Dodgers should benefit from any length he can provide as they face the prospect of a game in the relieving pen in the series final due to the administrative leave of Trevor Bauer by the MLB.

Kershaw has historically pitched well at Nationals Park, where he is 4-1 with a 2.58 ERA in seven career games (six starts). He’s seen Washington before this season and went through some traffic to keep them scoreless in six innings of a 3-0 victory at Dodger Stadium.

Paolo Espino takes the mound for the Nationals in what is only his fourth start but his 19th game overall this season. The 2-2 right-hander with a 2.02 ERA and 0.87 WHIP but hasn’t pitched more than five innings in any game so far. The 34-year-old has never faced the Dodgers in his career.

The Nationals are without Kyle Schwarber, who suffered right hamstring strain in the second inning on Friday night and was placed on the 10-day injured list. The Nationals acquired Alcides Escobar from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for cash and made him start from a standstill.

Trea Turner remains hand to mouth due to a swelling in his left middle finger that was stuck on a day he hit for the cycle.

The Dodgers lineup

RF: Mookie Betts
2B: Max Muncy
3B: Justin Turner
CF: Cody Bellinger
C: Will Smith
1B: Albert Pujols
SS: Gavin Lux
LF: AJ Pollock
P: Clayton Kershaw

The composition of nationals

2B: Josh Harrison
RF: Juan Soto
1B: Ryan Zimmerman
3B: Starlin Castro
C: Yan Gomes
LF: Gerardo Parra
SS: Alcide Escobar
FC: Victor Robles
P: Paulo Espino

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