Washington Nationals At St. Louis Cardinals Series Preview (4/29-5/1)
Max Scherzer (2-1, 4.35) vs. Carlos Martinez (4-0, 1.93) – 2:15 p.m, MASN2
Right now, through one month of the season, Scherzer has been the worst starter in the Nats’ rotation, which is a major surprise. On Tuesday against the Phillies, he did put up a quality start when he went six innings, gave up three runs on seven hits, struck out seven, and walked four on 116 pitches in a no-decision.
The big problem for Scherzer right now has been the way he has started games. He has given up five first inning runs in the last two games. Out of the 15 runs he’s given up this year, eight have come in the first inning, including three home runs.
In his career, Scherzer is 0-2 against the Cardinals with a 3.52 ERA in four outings. Last season, he had a 2.77 ERA in two games against St. Louis (0-1 record). Brandon Moss (.228, five home runs, 14 RBI’s) is 4-for-17 (.235) against Scherzer with two home runs and four RBI’s.
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So far, Carlos Martinez has been the best pitcher in the Cardinals’ rotation. The 24-year-old right-hander has pitched into the seventh inning or later in each of his last three starts. Against the Diamondbacks on Tuesday, Martinez threw eight shutout innings and gave up three hits while striking out four.
While Martinez has not struck out more than six batters in any game this year, he knows how to get the groundball outs. He has 13+ groundball outs in two of four outings this year. Plus, he has an average velocity of about 94 miles per hour on his fastball (according to Fangraphs).
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Martinez has a 7.36 ERA in four appearances against the Washington Nationals, but none of them have come as a starter. No National has more than six at-bats against him, but Anthony Rendon is 2-for-2 with a double and a RBI.
Prediction: Even though Martinez has not had many strikeouts this year, this pitching matchup will be interesting to watch. Can Scherzer bounce back against one of the best offenses in the National League right now? Right now, I am taking the Cardinals to win this game and take two out of three in the series.