Recent World Series champs Dodgers, Nationals square off

MLB

The Washington Nationals host the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday night to open a four-game, Fourth of July weekend series between the oast two World Series champions.

Both teams also are surging of late.

The Dodgers, who were off Wednesday, arrived in Washington on a five-game winning streak after sweeping a two-game series from the rival San Francisco Giants.

The Nationals are two games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 2019 season, when they eventually won the World Series. They have won four in a row and 14 of their past 17.

Kyle Schwarber, who has hit 16 home runs in his past 18 games, did most of the damage during the month of June to push Washington back into postseason contention.

However, Trea Turner was the headliner Wednesday during the Nationals’ 15-6 rout of the Tampa Bay Rays. The shortstop recorded his third career cycle while going 4-for-4 and scoring four runs.

“Everybody was standing up (after his triple to seal the cycle),” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “They were all practically wanting to go on the field. And when he was safe, there was a loud cheer. I love watching him run.”

Turner became the fourth player in the major leagues’ modern era (since 1900) to post three career cycles, joining Adrian Beltre, Bob Meusel and Babe Herman.

Turner, who turned 28 on Wednesday, also became the first player to hit for the cycle on his birthday.

“I think it’s luck, it’s tools to be able to hit for power and have at least some speed,” Turner said.

The only downside for Turner was jamming his left little finger on the dive for his sixth-inning triple. He exited an inning later and is listed as day-to-day. Juan Soto left the game in the ninth inning due to a left hamstring cramp.

The Dodgers have been in fine form recently, beating the Giants 3-1 on Tuesday despite mustering only three hits thanks. Walker Buehler got the win, allowing just an unearned run on three hits over 6 2/3 innings.

“In the past few years, that’s always been a big thing for us that we can catch momentum and go beat good teams, and I think we did that for five games,” said Buehler, who walked one and struck out seven.

Washington plans to start left-hander Patrick Corbin (5-6, 5.33 ERA) on Thursday against the Dodgers, who will turn to right-hander Tony Gonsolin (0-0, 2.77).

In Corbin’s most recent start, Saturday against the Miami Marlins, he threw six innings, allowing three runs on five hits while striking out six and walking none. Corbin is 5-10 with a 3.71 ERA in 20 career starts plus two relief appearances against the Dodgers.

Gonsolin, who will face Washington for the first time, continues to build up his innings since returning from the injured list after recovering from right shoulder inflammation.

Gonsolin has been dealing with fatigue in that area and has yet to pitch more than four innings in his four starts this season. He struck out seven, walked two and gave up one run on one hit over four innings (69 pitches) against the Chicago Cubs on Friday in his most recent start.

“I think we can definitely stay on top of it a little better,” Gonsolin said postgame. “I can do a better job in my prep work and all that stuff. Overall, I think it’s very manageable.”

–Field Level Media

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