The last time the Los Angeles Dodgers shut out a team for an entire series, Sandy Koufax was a part of the rotation.
The Dodgers look to hold an opponent without a run in a series for the first time in more than 40 years as they wrap up a three-game series Thursday against the Washington Nationals at RFK Stadium.
Los Angeles (31-21) won Tuesday’s series opener 10-0 and followed that up with a 5-0 victory Wednesday. Those two victories give the Dodgers a chance to shut out an opponent for an entire series for the first time since Sept. 9-11, 1966, when they outscored Houston 13-0 over four games—the third of which Koufax won 4-0.
They have not recorded three consecutive shutouts since July 25-27, 1991, defeating the Chicago Cubs once and the Montreal Expos twice.
Washington (21-32), meanwhile, has not been blanked in three straight games since Sept. 26-30, 1972, when the franchise was located in Montreal. The Expos were held scoreless once against the Chicago Cubs and twice against Philadelphia.
The Nationals, who have not scored since the eighth inning of Sunday’s loss at St. Louis, have never been held without a run for an entire series.
Los Angeles has also won its last five games against Washington, beginning with a three-game sweep at Dodger Stadium last July 28-30. The Dodgers have won 10 of the last 12 season series between the teams, but have not swept the Nationals on the road since Aug. 25-27, 1998, when the team was still based in Montreal.
The Dodgers, who have won three straight and six of their last seven, have been stingy against a lot of teams this season. They rank fourth in the majors with just 200 runs allowed and also are fourth with a 3.48 ERA.
“I think pitching has been holding us together this year,” said catcher Russell Martin, who homered Wednesday. “(But) hitting’s going to come along. We’ve got some guys that hit for a lot of years, and we’ve got some young guys who can do it, too.”
Playing against the Nationals, who rank fifth-worst in the National League with 256 runs allowed, has provided a boost to an offense that had scored just four total runs in its previous two games prior to this series. Shortstop Rafael Furcal went 2-for-5 to extend his hitting streak to 15 games Wednesday, while Derek Lowe pitched seven scoreless innings as the Dodgers improved to a season-best 10 games over .500.
Mark Hendrickson (2-2, 3.62 ERA) will look to keep the Nationals’ offense in check again in the finale. Hendrickson—moved into the rotation after ace Jason Schmidt went on the disabled list—was 2-0 with a 1.08 ERA in his first three starts, but is 0-2 with a 6.55 ERA in his last four.
Hendrickson allowed four runs and nine hits—including back-to-back homers in the second inning—in Saturday’s 4-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs. Since the start of the 2006 season, he has received just 3.28 runs of support per game, the lowest among pitchers with at least 163 innings.
The left-hander has not received a decision in either of his previous two starts against the Nationals despite a 3.00 ERA.
Washington will counter with Micah Bowie (1-2, 3.91), who earned his first victory as a starter since Sept. 23, 1999, allowing two runs in five innings of a 5-4 victory in St. Louis on Friday. The victory was the first overall since Aug. 9, 2002, for Bowie, who was making his second start this season in place of the injured Jerome Williams after 20 relief appearances.
Bowie managed only 69 pitches in 3 1-3 innings in his first start on May 20, when he allowed two runs without receiving a decision in Washington’s 4-3 win over Baltimore. But the start was his first since Sept. 29, 1999, while with the Chicago Cubs.
“I think I doubled anything I’d done in the last I don’t know how many years (on May 20),” Bowie said. “It’s nice once you start stretching out a little bit, you have a little more endurance.”
Bowie made two previous relief appearances against the Dodgers, throwing 1 2-3 total scoreless innings.