Washington Nationals Series Preview: Nats vs. Diamondbacks (8/3-8/6)

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Jul 30, 2015; Miami, FL, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) delivers a pitch against the Miami Marlins during the first inning at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Patrick Corbin (2-3, 3.21) vs. Max Scherzer (11-8, 2.22) – 7:05 PM, MASN

This start tomorrow night will be Corbin’s sixth start since returning from Tommy John surgery that caused him to miss all of last season. Two years ago, Corbin was an All-Star in the National League. He went 14-8 with a 3.41 ERA in 2013, but he had a stretch in the first half of that season when he went 11-1 in 19 starts with a 2.35 ERA.

The 26-year-old left fielder has shown good command in five starts as he has only walked five batters. In four of his five outings, he has given up two runs or fewer. Against the Mariners on July 29, Corbin went six innings, gave up one run on three hits, struck out six, and walked two in the win.

However, he has not thrown more than 89 pitches in any start this year. In three starts against Washington, Corbin is 1-1 with a 4.26 ERA. Jayson Werth is 2-for-5 against him with a home run and three RBI’s.

For the second time this season, Max Scherzer will be going up against his former team. In his first start against Arizona on May 11, Scherzer went seven innings, gave up one run on five hits, struck out six, and walked one in a 11-1 Nats win.

In his last start against the Marlins on July 30, Scherzer did walk three batters (a season-high), but he kept Miami off the scoreboard. In seven innings, he gave up no runs on three hits and struck out six batters on 109 pitches. He got two crucial double plays during the game to help his cause in winning a 1-0 game.

August should be a better month for Scherzer than July was. The 31-year-old is coming off his worst month of the season in July. In six starts, he went 2-3 with a 3.40, giving up five earned runs in two of those games. That being said, his strikeout to walk ratio (42:5) was still very good.

Against Arizona in his career, Scherzer is 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA in two starts. Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia (.162, 2 HR, 6 RBI’s) is 5-for-12 against him with a home run and two RBI’s.

Advantage: This pitching matchup is the best of the four games because of the talent Corbin has shown in his career. The problem for him in this game is that the Nationals have done a better job lately of working up the pitch count against the likes of Jose Fernandez and Jacob deGrom. If that trend holds, the Nats might be able to do just enough to get Max Scherzer a win.

Next: Wednesday's Matchup