When the Washington Nationals acquired Gio Gonzalez in a six-player trade with Oakland on Dec. 23, it didn’t take long for Gonzalez to realize he was in Washington’s long-term plans. A five-year, $42 million extension – with options for 2017 and 2018 – will do that, and Gonzalez has done nothing to make the Nationals’ investment look risky. He has won two straight starts and hasn’t allowed a run in his last three outings covering 20 innings. The Nationals will need Gonzalez to remain at his best when they try to avoid a three-game sweep against the Dodgers in Los Angeles on Sunday.
The Los Angeles Dodgers ruined Bryce Harper’s major league debut when Matt Kemp homered to lead off the 10th inning Saturday. Kemp has a major league-best 11 homers and a .442 average and shares the RBI lead with teammate Andre Ethier (24) and Texas’ Josh Hamilton. The 19-year-old Harper went 1-for-3 and his sacrifice fly put the Nationals ahead in the ninth before the bullpen couldn’t hold the lead. He also looked comfortable in left field, and nearly recorded his first assist.
Nationals Dodgers Betting
When: 4:10 PM ET, Sunday, April 29, 2012
Where: Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California
TV: 4:10 p.m. ET, MASN2 (Washington), Prime Ticket (Los Angeles)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Nationals LH Gio Gonzalez (2-0, 1.52 ERA) vs. Dodgers LH Chris Capuano (2-0, 3.52)
Gonzalez has 27 strikeouts in 23 2/3 innings and a batting average against of .157, and has allowed two hits in each of his last three starts. This will be Gonzalez’s first appearance against the Dodgers, although Juan Rivera (4-for-11, homer) and Juan Uribe (3-for-6, homer) know him well. Washington has won all four of his starts.
Capuano allowed one run and six hits in seven innings in the Dodgers’ 7-2 victory over Atlanta on Monday. Capuano has allowed 20 hits with 20 strikeouts in 23 innings. He is 2-3 in six career starts against Washington, including 1-1 while pitching for the Mets in 2011. The Nationals’ roster is hitting .302 against him with Ian Desmond 3-for-6 with two homers and Danny Espinosa 3-for-7 with a homer.
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1. Washington won’t win a series for the first time in seven tries this season.
2. The Nationals lead the major leagues with a 2.25 ERA; the Dodgers are seventh at 3.15.
3. The Dodgers are a National League-best 9-2 at home.