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
If you've understandably been caught up with the Capitals and Wizards in their respective playoff series, you might not be aware of just how hot Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper is right now. Fresh off a three-game sweep of the rival Mets in New York, Harper was named National League Player of the Week.
For the whole week, Harper hit .550 (11-for-20) with four doubles, three home runs, seven RBI, seven walks and 10 runs scored.
He is now leading all of baseball in batting average (.400), he's tied for second in homers (7), and he's alone in second in RBI (20). He's also amassed a blistering 1.340 OPS through the team's first 18 games.
Harper's biggest game of the past week came in Atlanta when he went yard twice, with his second homer being a grand slam. He finished the game 4-for-4 with two homers, one double, five RBI, one walk and four runs scored.
With Harper's injuries from last season behind him (even though he won't completely admit to being hurt), the Nationals' right fielder is back to, or even better than, his 2015 form that ended with his first career MVP award. During that season Harper took home player of the week honors three times.
The Nationals as a team have the best record in baseball at 13-5, and already have a three-game lead in the NL East.
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DENVER (AP) -- Charlie Blackmon hit a two-run homer in the seventh, Colorado's lights-out bullpen threw three-plus scoreless innings and the Colorado Rockies beat Washington 8-4 on Monday night, ending the Nationals' seven-game winning streak.
Trailing 4-3, Blackmon lined a hanging slider from lefty Enny Romero (1-1) into the right-field stands. It was Blackmon's sixth homer of the season and followed a pinch-hit double from Pat Valaika -- his first hit of the season.
The Rockies' relievers came through once again after starter Tyler Anderson wore down. Carlos Estevez (2-0) got four outs and Adam Ottavino threw an effective eighth. Greg Holland pitched the ninth in a non-save situation after the Rockies added three insurance runs in the eighth. He got pinch-hitter Bryce Harper to ground out to end the game.
The Rockies' bullpen is now 6-0 with a 2.62 ERA, which is tops in the NL.
MORE NATIONALS: BRYCE HARPER PICKS UP HIS FIRST PIECE OF HARDWARE ON THE SEASON