Washington Nationals vs. Atlanta Braves Series Preview (4/11-4/14)
Bud Norris (0-1, 3.86 ERA) vs. Max Scherzer (0-0, 2.57) – 7:05 p.m ET, broadcast on MASN2
Norris, along with Teheran, was one of the two pitchers who faced the Nats in that opening series. The 31-year-old surprised a lot of people in that start against Stephen Strasburg back on April 6. He went seven innings, gave up three runs on six hits, struck out four batters, and walked two on 98 pitches (59 strikes) in the loss.
He shut out the Nats for the first six innings, but the aggressive baserunning by Ryan Zimmerman and the clutch hitting of Matt den Dekker off the bench led to the Nationals’ 3-1 win. The one problem for Norris in this game was the lack of first pitch strikes (15 first pitch strikes out of 28 batters).
Despite Norris’ success against the Nationals last time out, remember that he is 2-2 with a 5.01 ERA in eight career games against them and has given up 14 earned runs over his last 18.2 innings vs. the Nats. Ryan Zimmerman is 6-for-17 against Norris with three home runs and nine RBI’s.
As for Scherzer, he was supposed to start yesterday’s game against the Marlins, but everyone got pushed back because of the postponement on Saturday. The Nats’ ace did pitch on Opening Day against the Braves and had a strong start. He went seven innings, gave up two runs on three hits, struck out seven, and walked two on 104 pitches (72 strikes).
In that outing, Scherzer’s only two mistakes came when he gave up a solo home run to Freddie Freeman in the bottom of the first and a solo shot to Adonis Garcia in the bottom of the fourth.
If there’s one thing that Scherzer has to work on, it’s not giving up those home runs after allowing 17 of them in his last 15 starts of 2015. A.J. Pierzynski is 11-for-39 (.282) against Scherzer with one home run and seven RBI’s.
Prediction: As I mentioned earlier, it was a surprise to see Norris pitch well against the Nats last time out, but the Braves made some great plays defensively in that game. I expect the Nats to have a better approach against Norris this time and for Scherzer to have another great outing in a win.
Next: Tomorrow's Matchup