Washington Nationals Series Preview: Nationals at Mets (4/30-5/3)

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Apr 23, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) throws to the St. Louis Cardinals during the first inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

 Max Scherzer (1-2, 1.26) vs. Matt Harvey (4-0, 3.04 ERA), 7:10 PM ET, MASN

 This is the matchup I am most looking forward to out of the four games this weekend because this is the pitching matchup that was expected to happen on Opening Day before Mets manager Terry Collins decided to go to Bartolo Colon.

Nationals fans have to be relieved that Max Scherzer will not be missing his turn in the rotation after jamming the thumb on his pitching hand last Thursday against the Cardinals. Scherzer has been the best pitcher in the Nats rotation to this point. He has yet to give up more than two earned runs in any of his four starts and has racked up 29 strikeouts.

Scherzer took the ball for Opening Day against the Mets on April 6 and was unhittable for the first five innings. Then, after an Ian Desmond error in the sixth, Lucas Duda would end up winning the game with a two-run single to right. Scherzer went 7.2 innings in that outing, gave up three runs (none earned) on four hits, struck out eight, and walked two.

A player to keep an eye on for the Mets in this one is Curtis Granderson. He was the batter who made Scherzer work the most in that first start out of the leadoff spot. Granderson is 4-for-14 against Scherzer with one home run, two RBI’s, and four walks.

The Nationals lineup will have a tough time going up against Matt Harvey. Since returning from Tommy John surgery, Harvey has been excellent for the Mets. He has gone six or more innings in each start. Last time out, against the Yankees, he went 8.2 innings, gave up two runs on five hits, struck out seven Yankees and walked two. He has seven or more strikeouts in each of his four games.

With the fastball up into the late 90’s, Harvey dominated the Nationals when he went up against Strasburg on April 9. He shut them out for six innings, gave up four hits, struck out nine (three from Bryce Harper), and walked one.

Against the Nats in his career, Harvey is 2-1 in five starts with a 0.82 ERA. The only players with two or more hits against him are Desmond, Werth, Zimmerman, and Span. Desmond and Zimmerman do have a home run against him.

Advantage: This is a game where I could see the score being 2-1 when its all set and done. Runs will be at a premium and I don’t expect Scherzer’s thumb to be an issue in this game. That being said, Washington can’t seem to have success against Harvey. With Harper being 0-for-10 against him and five strikeouts, Washington needs Harper to continue to get on base with his great plate discipline. It’s a classic pitcher’s duel, but the Mets win.

Next: Saturday's Matchup