December 9, 2019

Washington Nationals Game 89 Review: Kershaw and the Dodgers Beat the Nats

The Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Washington Nationals 4-2 on Saturday afternoon in front of a sellout crowd of 41,426  as the result of a dominant performance by All-Star starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw.

Kershaw struck out 14 batters — a season high for him and the most strike outs at Nats Park by an opposing team since 2005 — to give the Dodgers the win. He threw 101 pitches and 73 strikes in eight scoreless innings pitched and gave up three hits.

The pitching dominance exhibited by the Dodgers along with their productive offense left the Nats bats mostly dormant and Nats starting pitcher Doug Fister in a rough place.

Fister threw 91 pitches and 58 strikes in five innings of work. He gave up nine hits and four runs while striking out one, walking two (one intentionally), and hitting a batter. 

Los Angeles scored first when first baseman Adrian Gonzalez scored on a RBI single hit by outfielder Yasiel Puig making it a 1-0 game in the top of the 2nd inning. They continued to add on to their run total in the fifth inning when Fister gave up three runs to the top of the Dodgers’ order.

Lead off man and outfielder Joe Pederson, second baseman Howie Kendrick, and third baseman Justin Turner each scored off Fister in the fifth inning. Pederson was hit by a pitch with one out to before Kendrick and Turner hit back-to-back singles. Pederson scored on Turner’s RBI single to make it 2-0. Kendrick scored on a sacrifice fly hit to outfielder Bryce Harper by catcher A.J. Ellis to make it 3-0. And Turner  added the fourth and final run of the day for the Dodgers by scoring on a single hit through the hole at shortstop by Puig.

The Nats bullpen held the Dodgers to four runs thanks to three scoreless innings pitched by right-handed reliever Taylor Jordan and one inning pitched by left-handed reliever Sammy Solis.

Washington’s only runs came in the bottom of the ninth against right-handed reliever Kenley Jensen. Harper hit a one-out, two-run homer — his twenty seventh of the year — to put the Nats within reach of Los Angeles but Washington couldn’t manage any more offensive output.

THE HERO: Harper. For his one-out, two-run bomb to the second deck in RF. An absolute blast that gave the Nats a chance at a comeback.

THE GOAT: Unfortunately, I have to say Fister. Normally, on a quiet offensive day, I’d say the entire line up is the goat but Kershaw was on point and Fister struggled. This one’s on him today.

NATS NOTES:

  • Danny Espinosa exited today’s game in the 9th inning and was replaced by Emmanuel Burriss. Espinosa left with cramps in both of his calves after a defensive play left him in pain. The Nats will check-in on him tomorrow.

NEXT GAME: Zack Greinke (8-2, 1.39) and the Los Angeles Dodgers face Max Scherzer (10-7, 2.11) at 1:35 p.m. in Washington, D.C.

About Rachel Levitin

Rachel Levitin is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Nationals. For the past five seasons, she was credentialed to cover the Washington Nationals as an author for We Love DC. During her time spent with WLDC, Rachel composed game stories, covered off-the-field special events, and chronicled both of the Nats’ recent playoff runs. In addition to her work with WLDC, Rachel’s writing has been featured in the Washington Examiner and on MASNSports.com where she has been a featured guest blogger for the Nationals Buzz blog since 2011. Her love for baseball stems from having grown up on the north side of Chicago and falling in love with the sport’s history as a result of growing up just minutes from Wrigley Field. Rachel moved to DC in 2005 and has been following along with the Nats since their inaugural season. You can follow Rachel on Twitter @RHLevitin.

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