MLB Baseball Predictions: Washington Nationals vs Los Angeles Dodgers
Saturday, April 28, 2012
by Mike Stewart
Harper will take the roster spot of third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, who will be placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right shoulder injury.
Harper, 19, regarded as the top prospect in the major leagues, was shifted from catcher to right field after the draft.
The game also features a pair of first-place teams and two top pitchers. Provided Harper starts, his first major league at-bat should come against Chad Billingsley. Washington will send out Stephen Strasburg, the top pick in the 2009 draft by the Nationals who is off to a red-hot start. Strasburg will have to deal with Los Angeles center fielder Matt Kemp, who leads the majors with 10 homers and a .452 batting average. The Nationals are in danger of losing their first series of the season after winning their first six following Los Angeles’ 3-2 victory on Friday.
Strasburg has allowed 17 hits and six walks with 25 strikeouts in 25 innings, and Washington is 4-0 in his starts. He pitched six shutout innings in the Nationals’ 3-2 victory over Miami on April 21, but received a no-decision after Brad Lidge yielded a game-tying two-run homer in the ninth. Strasburg allowed two hits and struck out four in five innings in his only lifetime start against the Dodgers.
Billingsley allowed nine runs (five earned), four hits and walked four in 3 1/3 innings in a 12-0 loss at Houston on Sunday, but the Dodgers said the poor outing was not related to a sore groin muscle that slowed Billingsley in his previous outing. Billingsley is 4-1 in seven starts against the Nationals with a 3.21 ERA. Washington’s Adam LaRoche has two homers and 10 strikeouts in 21 at-bats against him.
1. Los Angeles’ Andre Ethier hit a two-run homer Friday and leads the major leagues with 24 RBIs – one ahead of Kemp. … LaRoche became the first player to homer off Clayton Kershaw this season when he delivered a two-run shot Friday.
2. The Dodgers’ Dee Gordon leads the major leagues with 10 steals, but has been caught in three of his last five attempts.
3. Harper hit .290 with 18 homers and 61 RBIs in 129 minor league at-bats.
MLB BASEBALL PREDICTION: Washington 3, Los Angeles 2
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