The Nationals and Dodgers open a three-game series Monday night at Dodger Stadium with a matchup featuring two of the Majors' best in Stephen Strasburg and Clayton Kershaw.
Kershaw is enjoying perhaps his best season, thanks to a 19-strikeout-to-walk ratio that is on pace to shatter the single-season record. He also boasts a Major League-best 1.58 ERA.
Meanwhile, Strasburg has spent the better part of the last year establishing himself among the same echelon as Kershaw. He's 10-0 with a 2.90 ERA and 118 strikeouts, tied for third in the Majors entering Sunday. Kershaw led with 133.
Things to know for this game
• The Dodgers are expected to activate outfielder Yasiel Puig on Monday. Los Angeles has been carrying nine relievers and will almost certainly send down one to make room.
• Chase Utley faced Strasburg often in his Phillies days, but is hitting just .148/.179/.148 in 28 plate appearances.
• Bryce Harper is 1-for-12 with a homer and seven strikeouts in his career against Kershaw.
• The opener will mark the second of four consecutive games against left-handers for the Nationals, who began this stretch batting .271 against lefties. Michael Taylor -- who homered twice Sunday -- has been making most of the starts in center field against lefties, although manager Dusty Baker dismissed the notion of calling it a platoon with Ben Revere.