Washington Nationals Series Preview: Nationals at Diamondbacks (5/11-5/13)

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May 6, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) throws to the Miami Marlins during the first inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Monday: Max Scherzer (2-3, 2.11 ERA) vs. Josh Collmenter (3-3, 3.40 ERA) 9:40 pm EST, broadcast on MASN2

Max Scherzer has been pitching very well this year and there is no reason to expect he will be anything other than great tonight.  Scherzer’s low ERA is quite remarkable considering that he is pitching to an entire new league full of hitters that he is not familiar with and is having to learn the batters tendencies. When your stuff is as good as Scherzer’s, perhaps not knowing the hitters well does not matter.

The league is only batting .216 against Scherzer. He has already accumulated 49 strikeouts this year. His ERA ballooned during his last start, when he gave up a three run home run to Giancarlo Stanton in the 8th inning when he was tiring out.

Josh Collmenter has been a steady presence for the D’backs rotation this year. He is a pitcher, not a thrower. He doesn’t have much of a fastball. He relies on movement and location to fool the hitters. He is vulnerable to the home run, having given up four in his six starts. That might be good news for the home run happy Nats, who are third in the National League in homers with 32.

Collmenter has good control and doesn’t walk many batters. He has only issued three walks in his six starts and he has not hit a batter yet this year. The Nationals are going to have to hit their way onto the basepaths. Collmenter will not help the Nats out in that regard.

If Scherzer is pitching well and goes deep in this game, the Nationals have the advantage. However, the Nationals don’t tend to hit pitchers well that they don’t see often, and Collmenter may be able to keep them off balance with his off speed stuff.

Next: Strasburg vs. De La Rosa