Jun 9, 2015; Bronx, NY, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) pitches during the first inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
On paper, this looks like a total mismatch in favor of the Washington Nationals. Max Scherzer will come into Sunday’s start trying to avoid losing his third start in a row. After a rough outing against the Blue Jays, he got his fastball back up to 96-97 miles per hour and kept the Yankees offense in check for most of the night on Tuesday.
However, the seventh inning was his demise as he gave up two singles and on his 115th pitch, Alex Rodriguez hit a groundball to short, which Ian Desmond made a bad throw to third base on, which allowed the eventual winning run to score. A Bryce Harper solo home run was the only run of support Scherzer had. Keep this stat in mind as you watch this game Sunday. In Scherzer’s six wins, the Nats have scored 38 runs. In his five losses, they have scored just six runs.
Scherzer has not faced the Brewers since 2009. He has no decisions in three starts, but has a 2.77 ERA in those games. Only four Brewers have faced Scherzer and nobody has more than one hit against him. Ryan Braun is 0-for-7 against the 30-year-old right-hander with four strikeouts.
The Nats will see another pitcher they are not too familiar with Sunday afternoon in 25-year-old right-hander Taylor Jungmann. He made his Major League debut on Tuesday against the Pirates and pitched well. He went seven innings, gave up one run on three hits, struck out five, and walked one.
When you look at Jungmann’s triple-A numbers, they stand out for the wrong reasons. With triple-A Colorado Springs, he went 2-3 with a 6.37 ERA in 11 games (nine starts). While those numbers are bad, keep in mind that the Pacific Coast League is more suitable for the hitter. He did lead the team in strikeouts with 54, but was second on the team in walks (29) before he got promoted.
Advantage: This is a game that the Nationals should win with their ace on the mound as it’s tough to see Scherzer losing three consecutive starts. While the offense has been inconsistent as of late, this is a series that could see the Nats get back on track. I expect the Brewers to pitch well in this series, but the lack of control from their starters could come back to haunt them here. Nats win this game and take three of four games in this series.