Mandatory Credit: Rafael Suanes-USA TODAY Sports
While Max Scherzer has had 19 strikeouts in his last two starts, he has not had a dominant second half as Nats fans would have hoped after a great first half of the season. Since the All-Star Break, Scherzer is 1-1 with a 3.90 ERA in five starts and opponents are hitting .254 against him.
In his last start against the Rockies on August 8, the 31-year-old right hander went six innings, gave up four runs on eight hits, struck out ten, and walked one in a no decision. The problem for Scherzer in that game was giving up the long ball as he gave up three solo shots. With that being said, he hasn’t lost a game since July 19 against the Dodgers (four starts)
In his career against the Giants, Scherzer is 1-3 with a 5.12 ERA in four starts, but he hasn’t faced San Francisco since Game 4 of the 2012 World Series when he gave up three runs on seven hits and struck out eight over 6.1 innings in a no-decision. Hunter Pence (.285, 7 HR, 37 RBI’s) is 1-for-6 against him with a RBI.
Matt Cain missed most of the first half of the season as he was recovering from an elbow injury. The 30-year old right-hander has not gone past the sixth inning in any of his seven starts this season. One of the reasons for that is he has not been able to keep the opponent off the scoreboard.
Cain has given up four runs or more in five of his seven starts and recently had issues with his command. On August 8 against the Cubs, Cain went four innings, gave up five runs on six hits, struck out two, and walked five in a loss. Plus, opponents are hitting .309 against him this season.
In 14 starts against the Nats, Cain is 5-5 with a 3.34 ERA, but he has two wins in his last eight appearances against Washington dating back to 2009. Ryan Zimmerman is 8-for-31 against him with three doubles, a home run, and five RBI’s.
Advantage: When you look at this matchup, it comes down to which pitcher is going to show their ace form. Injuries have prevented Cain from being the ace that he once was and he has not been able to put two good starts together. Even though Scherzer has struggled with his location in the second half of the season, he has made up for it with the strikeouts and that should help the Nationals find a way to get a win.
Next: Saturday's Matchup