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Nationals hope for more offensive production vs. Dodgers

Wed May 31 6:43am ET
Field Level Media


Patrick Corbin has turned back the clock of late as the Washington Nationals left-hander has won three consecutive starts.

He will look to make it four in a row on Wednesday afternoon against the host Los Angeles Dodgers.

Corbin's three-start winning streak is his longest since Sept. 12-23, 2019, toward the end of his first season with the Nationals.

After Corbin pitched well against the New York Mets (May 15) and Detroit Tigers (May 20), when he gave up two runs over six innings in each start, he needed some help in his most recent outing.

In a start against the Kansas City Royals on Friday, Corbin (4-5, 4.88 ERA) gave up six runs on seven hits and a season-high four walks in 6 1/3 innings. The offense, however, came to his rescue in a 12-10 Washington victory.

"You always try, especially in those games like that, try to give the bullpen a break," said Corbin, who is 5-12 with a 4.37 ERA in 24 career appearances against the Dodgers (22 starts).

"But the guys that came in kept the lead. And the offense tonight was amazing."

The Nationals offense certainly has been interesting, and not just in Friday's outburst. Washington has a National League-worst 39 home runs, but the club also has an NL-best .263 team batting average and a .328 on-base percentage that's fifth in the league.

It hasn't exactly translated into runs scored, though, as Washington is 22nd in baseball with 230. Against the Dodgers, the Nationals have scored a combined four runs in the first two games of the series, both defeats.

Hoping to take advantage of the Nationals' struggle to score runs is Dodgers right-hander Noah Syndergaard, who is scheduled to pitch Wednesday. His first season in Los Angeles has not been one to remember with a 1-4 record and a 6.27 ERA in 10 starts.

He is 8-6 with a 3.25 ERA in 20 career starts against the Nationals.

In his most recent outing Friday, Syndergaard was tagged for six runs on eight hits over six innings in a loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.

"Just not a lot of positive emotion right now when I think about pitching, in particular," Syndergaard said. "It's just hard going out there with the weapons you used to have kind of being taken away from you, and throwing what I'm possessing right now is not enough to successfully battle a team like that."

The concept on Wednesday won't be for Syndergaard to dominate but to keep the Nationals offense in check enough for the Dodgers offense to work its magic. Los Angeles received home runs from Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward and J.D. Martinez on Tuesday in a 9-3 victory over the Nationals.

Freeman had four hits Tuesday, while extending his hitting streak to 19 games, the third-longest run of his career. It was Freeman's second four-hit game of the season.

Freeman also has 24 extra-base hits in May, the Dodgers' record for a single month.

"This is what he does," Heyward said about Freeman on the SportsNet LA broadcast. "People ask me, or they talk about his numbers, and I say, ‘Yeah, this is Freddie.' He goes out there and competes, does his best every day to try and win and he's happy when we win."

Over the past three games, the Dodgers have scored 25 combined runs and they also lead the NL with 313 on the season.

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