Dodgers try to sweep Nationals in rare morning matchup

MLB

After they were slow to make a decision on the status of right-hander Trevor Bauer, the Los Angeles Dodgers now will replace the reigning Cy Young Award winner in the starting rotation, at least in the short term.

The Dodgers announced that right-hander Edwin Uceta will be recalled to start Sunday’s series finale on the road against the Washington Nationals. Los Angeles will put its eight-game winning streak on the line in an 11 a.m. local time start after playing past midnight Saturday in a game that was delayed by rain.

A sexual assault accusation against Bauer emerged Tuesday, with the club initially saying it planned to have Bauer pitch Sunday in his regularly scheduled outing. By Friday, MLB placed Bauer on a seven-day leave, with the announcement made shortly after the rest of the Dodgers met with President Joe Biden at the White House to honor their 2020 World Series title.

Uceta (0-2, 6.28 ERA) made his major league debut April 30 and has eight appearances this season, going back down June 21. He has never faced the Nationals, with his lone start coming in his debut at Milwaukee when he gave up two runs on four hits over two innings.

“I think we’re in a good spot,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said before announcing the team’s intention to bring up the 23-year-old Uceta. “He will be fresh and will be able to go 75-80 pitches if need be. But we have enough pitching.”

Bauer’s status is uncertain moving forward. He could be subject to another seven-game leave when the current one ends next week. Pasadena, Calif., police continue to investigate two separate alleged incidents between Bauer and a woman who filed a restraining order that revealed disturbing accusations.

Since the Dodgers were no-hit by four Chicago Cubs pitchers on June 24, they have not lost. The most recent victory, the third consecutive against the Nationals, came Saturday after a 1-hour, 44-minute rain delay. They got five scoreless innings from the bullpen in a 5-3 victory.

Now comes Sunday’s early holiday start.

“I’ve learned not to question scheduling,” Roberts said. “Sometimes logic and things, while you’re playing, don’t seem to make sense. We don’t make the schedule; we try to adhere by it. But not ideal.”

Looking to halt the Dodgers’ flow, the Nationals will send Joe Ross (5-7, 4.02 ERA) to the mound. Ross was solid in five June starts, outside of a June 19 outing against the New York Mets when he gave up five runs on six hits over five innings.

Even with that wobble, Ross was 3-2 in the month with a 1.95 ERA, while opponents batted just .202 against him with a .605 OPS. In five appearances (three starts) against the Dodgers he is 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA.

The Nationals just put Kyle Schwarber (hamstring) on the 10-day injured list, while acquiring veteran shortstop Alcides Escobar from the Kansas City Royals on Saturday. Starting shortstop Trea Turner has a jammed finger that forced him to miss the last three games.

Schwarber was just named National League Player of the Month after hitting 16 home runs in June. The resurgent Nationals were 21-29 at the start of June and entered July with a 40-38 record.

“We got to keep playing baseball,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “It’s unfortunate that as hot as (Schwarber) was, and how much he helped us win over the last month, we got to do without him for a while. So, other guys definitely have to step up.”

–Field Level Media

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