Washington Nationals Series Preview: Nationals Battle Division Foe Philadelphia Phillies

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Apr 6, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) throws his first pitch as a National on Opening Day against New York Mets at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: H.Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports

In another no-decision, pitching-duel rematch, Max Scherzer for the Nationals takes on Sean O’Sullivan for the Phillies.

Scherzer has been as good as advertised so far for the Washington Nationals this season. In his opening day start, he took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before the defense let him down. He gave up two unearned runs and ended up taking the loss in a tough outing. In his next start against the Phillies, he went six innings giving up six hits and one – earned run. He came away with a no decision as the bullpen wasn’t able to hold the lead, but the Nats ended up winning in ten innings.

O’Sullivan’s only start was the same ten inning affair against Scherzer and the Nats. He was impressive over six innings as he gave up five hits and only two earned runs. It’s hard to out-duel Scherzer, but O’Sullivan was able to hold his own. While the Phillies eventually lost, they were able to at least tie the game to get O’Sullivan out of the loss.

Advantage: Scherzer

There are not going to be too many pitching match-ups where Max Scherzer is not favored. As well he should be, he is the ace of the staff and always a legitimate Cy Young candidate. O’Sullivan put up a respectable fight last time against the Nationals, but his success was due in part to the Nats ice cold bats. His career ERA is 5.84 and I expect him to perform more like his career numbers against a more healthy and, hopefully, rejuvenated Nationals’ lineup. I would expect a decent start by O’Sullivan, but Scherzer will continue to dominate and give the Nats the lead heading into the later innings where anything can happen.

Next: Game 3: Harang vs. Zimmermann