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Dodgers Sweep the Nats, Get a Very Brief Taste of the Top NL West Spot

The Los Angeles Dodgers (50-47) returned from the All-Star Break well rested and swept the Washington Nationals (48-50) in a three-game weekend series. The final win came on Sunday with a 9-2 victory and since June 22, the Dodgers have gone 20-5.

Matt Kemp2 editsMatt Kemp returned after a 15-day DL stint. He hit the ground running, going 3-for-4 including one home run and a double in the second inning along with three RBIs for the day. But his great day came to a grinding halt in the ninth inning.

Sliding into home plate, Kemp tweaked his left ankle and exited the game with a possible sprain. The team will take another look before its Monday game against the Toronto Blue Jays (45-52).

Kemp said of the ankle via MLB.com, “It’s just a little swollen. It’s not that bad. I started walking around a little bit and it started feeling a little better, so tomorrow we’ll see what it feels like.”

Other hot Dodgers hitters on Sunday included Carl Crawford with his three hits and Hanley Ramirez, who slammed a three-run homer.

The team’s hot rookie Yasiel Puig didn’t start after undergoing a hitting slump in the series’ two previous games (0 for 9 with five strikeouts).

Clayton Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw

Lefty Clayton Kershaw (9-6) had another solid outing in seven innings. He gave up two runs and two hits with nine strikeouts and zero walks.

His 2.01 ERA is now at the top of the major league.

As for the Nationals, it was another ugly game. With Kershaw on the mound, they only hit six balls to the infield and the two home runs by Jason Werth were too little, too late.

All-Star righty Jordan Zimmerman (12-5), who has been battling neck problems, had the shortest start of his MLB career. In two innings, he allowed seven earned runs from eight hits (two home runs) and two walks.

Sunday’s performance ended his 22-game starting win streak in front of the home crowd.

After the win, the Dodgers had been tied with the Arizona Diamondbacks (51-47) for the top NL West spot but the celebration was short-lived by the team as Arizona defeated the San Francisco Giants (45-52), 3-1 later in the day to take a .5 division lead.

Looking ahead, the Dodgers take on the under .500 Blue Jays for a three-game series. The team will look for its eighth consecutive road win and will put lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu (7-3) on pitching duty to help make this happen. This is his first time opposing the Blue Jays and he’ll need to put his last start behind him; this ended with five allowed runs and seven hits over five innings on the mound back on July 10.

Toronto will have righty Josh Johnson (1-5) on the mound. He’ll really need to have a short memory as he’s 0-3 (6.33 ERA) over his last four starts. He hasn’t seen a win since June 23.

On Monday, the Blue Jays will snap their five-game losing streak with a win (-117, 9 o/u).

For the Dodgers, their eyes are on the postseason. After the Blue Jays, they will return home to play the Cincinnati Reds (55-43) in a four-game series. This is an equally hungry team to move up in its respective division (5.0 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals) and this should be a good series.

The Dodgers are playing confidently and sit at 4 to 1 to win the NL pennant and 8 to 1 to win the 2014 World Series.

Upcoming Arizona Play 

The Diamondbacks don’t want to give up their top spot anytime soon and they’ll also start the new week by hosting an under .500 team, the Chicago Cubs (43-53), to a four-game series.

There’s not much to say about this as the Cubs just lost two of three against the Colorado Rockies (48-51) this past weekend.

In probably his last start for the Cubs, righty Matt Garza (6-1) will take the mound on Monday against the Diamondbacks lefty Tyler Skaggs (2-1).

Yep, look for a Diamondbacks win (-137, 8 o/u).



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