By Martin Hosmer
The Nats’ rise in the NL East hit a bump yesterday when they lost to the Rockies.
But they can jump-start their rise this weekend with a three-game series against the NL-best, starting tonight against left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu (11-2, 1.76 ERA).
Washington’s loss — just its fourth in its last 17 homes games — dropped the club 4 1/2 games behind National League East-leading Atlanta.
Anthony Rendon has hit safely in 14 of his last 15 games for Washington, going 21-for-58 with 13 RBIs and nine runs scored in that stretch.
The 29-year-old Rendon went 3-for-15 with a pair of doubles as the Nationals split their previous four-game series versus the Dodgers in May 9-12.
Rendon is 2-for-8 with a home run in his career versus Ryu, who handcuffed Washington and carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning in a 6-0 win on May 12.
The 32-year-old South Korean owns a 2-1 mark with a 1.35 ERA and 0.71 WHIP in four career starts versus Washington.
Ryu improved to 2-0 in his last three starts after yielding one run on four hits in seven innings of a 2-1 win against Miami last Friday.
The Dodgers had one day to recover Thursday after dropping both contests of the Freeway Series at home against the Los Angeles Angels, with Cody Bellinger receiving an ejection in the eighth inning of Wednesday’s 3-2 setback.
“It’s going to happen,” Bellinger told the media of the ejection. “But bottom of the eighth inning, one-run game, you got to lock it in. So just frustration that boiled over.”
Bellinger will look to work out his frustrations against the Nationals, against whom he went 7-for-13 with three runs scored. The 24-year-old is 2-for-8 against Friday starter Anibal Sanchez (6-6, 3.80).
Sanchez improved to 6-0 with a 2.70 ERA in his last nine starts after allowing three runs on six hits in five innings in a 5-3 win against the Braves on Saturday.
The 35-year-old dropped to 1-3 with a 3.89 ERA in eight career encounters against the Dodgers after permitting three runs on six hits in 4 1/3 frames of a 5-0 loss on May 10.