The stars will shine bright in Hollywood tomorrow night, when Bryce Harper makes his major-league debut with Stephen Strasburg on the mound for the Nationals. But tonight's series opener at Dodger Stadium is no slouch of a ballgame.
Clayton Kershaw, the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, starts for Los Angeles. Matt Kemp, last year's NL MVP runner-up, has been playing out of his mind so far this season. And Nationals left-hander Ross Detwiler only boasts an 0.56 ERA entering his fourth start of the year.
Davey Johnson will try out a new-look lineup for this one, trying to stack up as many of his best right-handed hitters as he can. Jayson Werth gets bumped up the No. 3 spot. Danny Espinosa gets bumped down to the 6-hole. Adam LaRoche hits cleanup, but he's the only left-handed batter in the lineup.
I'm not in town for tonight's game, but I've got good news: I just booked a morning flight to LAX, and I'll be reporting live from the scene at tomorrow's extravaganza (as well as Sunday's series finale). Until then, enjoy tonight's game and the conversation...
WASHINGTON NATIONALS at LOS ANGELES DODGERS
Where: Dodger Stadium
Gametime: 10:10 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 189
Weather: Clear, 66 degrees, Wind 6 mph out to RF
SS Ian Desmond
3B Steve Lombardozzi
CF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche
RF Mark DeRosa
2B Danny Espinosa
LF Xavier Nady
C Jesus Flores
LHP Ross Detwiler
SS Dee Gordon
2B Mark Ellis
CF Matt Kemp
RF Andre Ethier
LF Jerry Hairston
1B James Loney
3B Juan Uribe
C A.J. Ellis
LHP Clayton Kershaw
You can always count on the New York Daily News to run an audacious cover. The tabloid delivered again Friday with an image edited to show two of the league's best young hitters in Yankees pinstripes: Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper and Orioles short stop Manny Machado.
"Bats to the Future" is exactly the headline you'd expect, too.
It's hard to tell what's more odious to Washington and Baltimore fans: the image itself or the suggestion that baseball's new collective bargaining agreement makes it easier for the Yankees to poach their stars.
The premise of that argument comes from sources who say the new CBA contains two changes beneficial to New York: reduced revenue sharing burden (due to tweaks in how sharing is calculated, plus a deduction for the cost of building and running Yankee Stadium) and an increased luxury tax threshold.
Without going into number crunching detail, the Daily News explains how the club could afford Harper and/or Machado when they become free agents after the 2018 season.
The article's tone of inevitability, despite its many assumptions, will rankle fans of all 29 other teams. After all, the Yankees aren't the only franchise interested in Harper and Machado.
The Nationals and Orioles will presumably try to keep their stars. But to do that, they may have to fend off potentially historic money from the Bronx.
MORE BASEBALL: Nats let Ben Revere walk
Ben Revere was brought to Washington in the hopes he could solve the centerfield and lead-off issue that plagued them the previous year. After just one year, the Nationals have decided to move on from Revere as they declined to tender him.
The move makes Revere a free agent after a .217/.260/.300 season that fell way below expectations. Revere tied his career-high with two home runs and added 24 RBI while scoring 44 runs.
Stay tuned for more information!