Washington Nationals Series Preview: Nats at Marlins (7/28-7/30)

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Jul 24, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the fourth inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Max Scherzer (10-8, 2.33) vs. Dan Haren (7-6, 3.51) – 12:10 PM, MASN and MLB Network

For the second time in his last four starts, Max Scherzer gave up five earned runs in an outing. On July 24 against the Pirates, he gave up those five runs on seven hits, struck out eight, and walked one in a no-decision. The Nats’ ace was unable to hold a 4-2 lead as he gave up two home runs in the bottom of the fifth. The three home runs were the most Scherzer has given up in a start this season.

It’s been an up and down month for the Nats’ ace. In five starts in July, Scherzer is 1-3 with a 4.13 ERA. That would be the highest ERA he has had in any month this season.

Back on May 6, Scherzer went seven innings, gave up five runs on ten hits, struck out ten, and walked none in a win over the Marlins. The one mistake he made in that game came in the top of the eighth when he gave up a three-run homer to Stanton. Scherzer is 1-0 with a 5.54 ERA in two career starts against Miami. Prado is 6-for-10 against him with a double.

This season, Dan Haren has been an innings eater for Dan Jennings’ club. The 34-year-old right-hander has pitched into the sixth inning or later in his last 13 outings. In his last start against the Padres on July 24, Haren went six innings, gave up three runs on eight hits, and struck out three in a loss.

Haren is a fly ball pitcher, which can cause him to fall victim to the long ball. In his last two starts, Haren has given up five home runs and he has given up 20 home runs this season. That being said, he has pitched well in Miami this season. In ten home starts, he is 4-2 with a 2.83 ERA.

Against the Nationals, the right-hander is 4-3 with a 2.85 ERA in eight games (seven starts). On April 26, Haren went five innings, gave up two runs on three hits, struck out three, and walked three in a 6-2 Marlins win. Werth is 5-for-13 against Haren with a RBI.

Advantage: While Haren has done a good job eating innings for the Marlins this season, Scherzer is a pitcher who rarely puts two good starts together. If he is able to locate his fastball, he should have success against Miami. This is a series that the Nationals should take two out of three in and they have the right pitcher on the mound to try to accomplish that in a proverbial rubber game.

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