Roberto Hernandez was roughed up by the long ball as the Los Angeles Dodgers fall to the Washington Nationals 6-4 in the series opener at Dodgers Stadium.
Hernandez, lasting only 4 1/3 innings, gave up five hits that led to five earned runs against him, giving up four home runs. Hernandez threw 91 pitches, leaving with an ERA sitting at exactly 4.00. The early deficit and exit by Hernandez added to the strain of the bullpen, something that has been becoming routine with the bottom part of the Dodgers rotation. Chris Perez, Jamey Wright. and Brandon League were called upon, getting the game into the hands of Yimi Garcia who was making his season debut after being called up from triple-A Albuquerque. The Dodgers had Perez available off of the DL, along with calling up Garcia, Tim Federowicz, Joc Pederson, and Alex Guerrero. Carlos Triunfel was designated for assignment.
The Dodgers are 21 games over .500 when starting Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, and Hyun-Jin Ryu. With the loss, Los Angeles is five games under .500 when those three aren’t making the start. Don Mattingly is well aware of that, having Carlos Frias in line to start on Wednesday to give Dan Haren an extra day before his next start. That also aligns up the big three to pitch in all the six remaining games against the San Francisco Giants. The Dodgers hold a two game lead over the Giants for first place in the National League West.
The Nationals weren’t the only one's in the game doing damage with the long ball early. Matt Kemp hit a two run home run in the first inning after Adrian Gonzalez drew a two out walk. Kemp’s 17th home run of the season gave the Dodgers the 2-1 lead. The Dodgers pushed things in the seventh inning with two singles to open the inning from Kemp and Scott Van Slyke. The slumping Yasiel Puig grounded into a fielder’s choice, and A.J. Ellis followed with a fly out to center field. Juan Uribe singled to center field to drive in a run, cutting the lead to three. Puig finished the game 0-3 with a walk. Puig’s usual electricity has been out through the slump, something the Dodgers will look for and need going down the September stretch. Dee Gordon and Hanley Ramirez combined to go 0-8. Kemp and Uribe combined for four of the five Dodger hits and all four RBI’s. Uribe drove Puig home after the walk in the ninth, bringing the tying run to the plate. Carl Crawford pinch hit for Ellis, singling to move Uribe to third. Pederson, making his major league debut, came to the plate as the winning run. Pederson battled into a full count before being called out on a slider for the third strike and the final out, ending the game 6-4.
Clayton Kershaw will make the start on Tuesday against Doug Fister at Dodger Stadium in the middle game of the three game series with the Nationals.