Washington Nationals vs Philadelphia Phillies Series Preview (4/15-4/17)
Max Scherzer (1-0, 4.15 ERA) vs Aaron Nola (0-1, 3.21 ERA)- 7:05 PM ET on MASN
Aaron Nola is the brightest young pitcher in the Phillies’ organization, and may just be the best overall. His first start this season against the Reds went well, but ended up in a loss after the Phillies’ bullpen imploded. The 22-year old went seven strong innings, allowing just one earned run on four hits. He struck out a career-high eight while walking none.
He pitched very well in his debut season: a 3.59 ERA in 13 starts with 68 strikeouts. Like Hellickson, he doesn’t throw at high velocity (average velocity of 92 mph according to Fangraphs), but has great control and spots his pitches very well.
Nola spent just two years in the minors before getting called up last year. He was just fantastic, putting up a 2.73 overall ERA with 137 strikeouts. He was Philadelphia’s top pitching prospect for all of his two years in the minors, and has certainly lived up to the hype thus far.
The good news for this series is that the Nats had great success against him last year. In two starts (ten innings pitched), Nola had a 5.40 ERA, gave up three home runs, and Nats’ hitters had a .348 batting average against last year. Jayson Werth was 2-for-5 against him last year with a home run and four RBI’s.
Max Scherzer will be on the mound for the Nationals. He pitched like his normal self on Opening Day against the Braves, but ran into some trouble last Monday, also against Atlanta. He gave up four earned runs on six hits and walked three over six innings, but he picked up the win. There isn’t any reason to worry though considering Scherzer has the track record of an ace and he has had good success against Philadelphia.
In his 20 career starts against the Phillies, he’s given up just 12 earned runs. Last season, he was 3-0 with a 1.50 ERA in four starts, striking out 30 batters, and only walking three. Ryan Howard is 1-for-13 against Scherzer with a double and eight strikeouts.
Prediction: Scherzer will dominate, but this one will be close. I think Nola has the potential for a good performance, but this game will likely all depend on the Phillies’ bullpen considering how far Scherzer can go in games like this.
Next: Sunday's Matchup