Washington Nationals Series Preview: Nats Vs. Dodgers (7/17-7/19)

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Jul 14, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; National League pitcher Zack Greinke (21) of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws against the American League during the second inning of the 2015 MLB All Star Game at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Zack Greinke (8-2, 1.39) vs. Max Scherzer (10-7, 2.11), 1:35 PM ET, MASN/WUSA9/TBS

This is the matchup that stacks up two All-Stars who are both in the running for the NL Cy Young Award. While Scherzer was not able to pitch in the All-Star Game, Greinke got the start for the National League. While Greinke did give up a leadoff home run to Mike Trout, he did strike out four batters.

That home run does not count against Greinke’s scoreless inning streak, which currently stands at 35.2. The last start in which the 31-year-old right-hander gave up a run was June 13 against the San Diego Padres. Since then, he has surrendered a total of 16 hits in his last five starts. This includes an eight-inning, one-hit, eight strikeout performance against the Phillies on July 9.

Greinke leads the league in ERA, is second in innings pitched, and second in WHIP. This is a big year for Greinke as he has an opt-out clause in his contract that he can exercise at the end of this season. If he can continue the dominance he has shown of late, he will get a lot of money this winter. In five starts against the Nats, he is 3-1 with a 2.22 ERA. Wilson Ramos is 2-for-4 against him with a double.

As for Scherzer, he was able to bounce back after a rough outing against the Reds by nearly throwing a complete game against the Orioles on July 12. In that outing, he went 8.2 innings, gave up two Adam Jones solo home runs on four hits, struck out seven, and did not walk a batter on 115 pitches.

While the Nats’ ace has not had double digit strikeouts in his last four starts, he has showed pinpoint control. The 30-year-old right-hander has not walked a batter in his last five starts. At home this season, he is 4-4 with a 2.83 ERA (1.57 on the road), but he has just five walks in eight starts. Will Scherzer fare better this time after losing the battle of aces to Johnny Cueto on July 7?

In nine games (seven starts) against the Dodgers, Scherzer is 2-3 with a 3.51 ERA. However, he was 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA against LA in two starts with the Tigers last season. Left fielder Andre Ethier (.281, 10 HR, 31 RBI’s) is 6-for-21 against him with a home run and three RBI’s.

Advantage: In this game, scoring opportunities will be minimal if both pitchers are on their A games, especially with the dominance both pitchers have shown this season. However, I like the Dodgers offense a bit more than the Nats in this one. Los Angeles takes two out of three with a 2-1 win.

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