Washington Nationals Series Preview: Nats at Mets (10/2-10/4)

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Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Max Scherzer vs. Matt Harvey (13-7, 2.80) – 7:10 PM ET, MASN2

Despite the circus that was around the Nats’ organization during Scherzer’s last start on Monday, he was able to stay focused and put together that was reminiscent of the dominant first half he had. Against the Reds, Scherzer took a no-hitter into the eighth inning and gave up only one run while striking out ten in a 5-1 win.

For Scherzer, it is only his third win since the All-Star Break, but his 50 strikeouts this month are the second most he has had in any month this season (56 back in May). Scherzer’s 259 strikeouts on the season are second in the National League, behind only Clayton Kershaw (294).

However, if Scherzer gives up two home runs Saturday, he will tie his career-high for most home runs allowed in a single season (29 in 2011). Against the Mets this season, the Nats’ ace is 0-2 in three starts with a 2.61 ERA. Michael Cuddyer (.263, 10 HR, 41 RBI’s) is 6-for-24 against him with two home runs and four RBI’s.

When the Nats last saw Matt Harvey, he was in the midst of an innings limit controversy. However, Harvey sort of calmed that news down in his last start against the Reds. After pitching only five innings in the start prior against the Yankees where he only gave up one hit, the 26-year-old right-hander went six innings, gave up two runs on nine hits, struck out six, and walked no one in a win that clinched the NL East for New York.

Recently, the Mets made the decision that Harvey will only make one start in the NLDS, which means he will only pitch in Game 2 or 3. He is already at 183.1 innings, which is over the 180 limit, so I wouldn’t expect Harvey to pitch a lot of innings Saturday. In fact, you could see Steven Matz as New York’s possible Game 4 starter could get some work in after suffering some back soreness. Matz will either pitch five innings tomorrow or Sunday to try to get himself ready for a playoff start.

This season, Harvey is 2-1 against Washington in five starts with a 2.73 ERA. In his last start vs. the Nats, he went 5.1 innings, gave up seven runs on eight hits, struck out six, and walked two in a no-decision. Clint Robinson is 3-for-8 against him with a double and three RBI’s.

Advantage: Even though Scherzer has yet to beat the Mets this season, this could be the outing he gets his win. This is a start where the Mets will look to get Harvey and Matz their work in and maybe not play as many of their regulars. If that’s the case, I’ll take the Nationals to squeak out a victory in this one.

Next: Sunday's Matchup