(SportsNetwork.com) - It's that time again when Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw puts his talents to work, as the left-hander takes on the Washington Nationals Tuesday from Chavez Ravine.
Kershaw is 13-1 with a 1.21 earned run average in his last 16 starts and the Dodgers are 15-1 in that impressive stretch. He has lasted at least eight innings 10 times in his previous 13 appearances, and yielded an unearned run and six hits across eight frames in last Wednesday's 3-1 win at Arizona.
"It was a bad start, really," Kershaw said. "There were guys on base the whole night, I had to work out of jams. Fortunately, I got through eight innings."
The Cy Young Award candidate is 16-3 with an MLB-best 1.73 ERA and 7-2 in 11 starts at Dodger Stadium. Kershaw, who can become the majors' first 17-game winner, defeated the Nationals on the road with seven shutout innings of an 8-3 win on May 6 and is 6-2 with a 2.79 ERA in 10 career games, nine of which have been starts, against them.
Doug Fister has never faced Los Angeles and will take the mound for the Nationals Tuesday night. Fister has suffered back-to-back losses and was reached for five runs -- four earned -- and 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings of an 8-4 defeat at Philadelphia last Wednesday.
Fister, a right-hander in his first season with Washington, was 6-1 with a 1.47 ERA in eight starts prior to his current two-game slide. The Nationals were 7-1 in that time.
In 11 road starts this season, Fister has compiled a 6-3 mark and 2.91 ERA.
The Dodgers hope to make Fister's night a miserable one and look to rebound from Monday's 6-4 loss in the series opener. Roberto Hernandez had a rough start and gave up five runs and five hits, including four home runs, in just 4 1/3 innings.
"You get behind in too many counts and you've got to pay," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "You help them a lot by continuing to get behind in the count."
Matt Kemp hit a two-run homer in the first inning to give Los Angeles a short- lived 2-1 lead and Juan Uribe went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI. The Dodgers now lead the NL West by just two games over San Francisco and have lost three of the last four games.
The Dodgers will also host Arizona and San Diego on this nine-game homestand.
Jayson Werth put Washington's home run parade in motion in the first inning, then Asdrubal Cabrera and Denard Span went deep in the third. Span then belted a two-run homer in the fifth for the NL East-leading Nationals, winners in three of the last four games after opening a nine-game trip with a sweep at the hands of the Philadelphia Phillies.
In the last four games, the Nationals have hit 14 home runs. The club belted 40 last month and had 10 this past weekend at Seattle.
"It's not something that we live by. We manufacture better than we hit homers, but we'll take them," Nationals manager Matt Williams said. "You can't give them back. We'll try to win games however we can."
Gio Gonzalez benefited from the home run barrage and picked up the win with six innings of three-hit, three-run ball. Rafael Soriano worked around two hits and a run in the ninth for his 31st save.
The Nationals are 27-16 since the All-Star break and lost five of six games versus the Dodgers last season.