Max Scherzer (8-4, 3.40 ERA) vs. Colin Rea (3-3, 5.37 ERA) 10:10 p.m. ET, MASN
Scherzer has been one of the best strikeout pitchers in the NL, as he is second in the NL with 118. However, his kryptonite has been the long ball, as he has surrendered an NL-leading 17 home runs.
The right-hander dazzled in his last start facing the Chicago Cubs. He struck out 11 batters in seven innings and allowed just one run on two hits to pick up his third straight win.
This marked the third time in the last six starts that he has struck out at least 10 batters, and the fourth start overall he reached double-digit K’s. There have been four starts in 2016 that Scherzer has surrendered four or more runs. He is solid on the road, as indicated by his 3.13 ERA in nine starts away from home.
The biggest struggles for him come early in games, as he has a 4.93 ERA in innings one through three. If he can navigate the first time through the lineup without any problems, he usually has success.
Scherzer is 2-2 with a 2.75 ERA in six career starts against San Diego (2.12 ERA in three starts at PETCO). Matt Kemp is 1-for-24 against Scherzer with seven strikeouts in his career,
Rea hasn’t found too much success on the mound this season. If the high ERA wasn’t bad enough, the right-hander has also suffered command issues by walking 27 batters in 65.1 innings.
He has an extremely high 9.4 hits per nine innings, and his FIP is 4.53. He was knocked around in his previous start against the Marlins, as he pitched a season-low 2.2 innings and allowed eight runs (six earned) on nine hits in a loss.
It was the fourth occurrence in 2016 that he surrendered at least four or more runs. There are just four starts in which he has completed six innings, and just three times has he thrown more than 100 pitches.
Rea has allowed opposing teams to hit .265 against him, and right-handed batters have a .275 average in 120 at-bats. He has posted a 5.52 ERA in eight starts at home, and the opposition has a .338 batting average with runners in scoring position. This would be his first career start against the Washington Nationals.
Prediction: The Nats will have no problems scoring runs in this game, given the recent struggles by Rea. I do expect Scherzer to pitch quality innings, especially if he’s given an early lead. The Nats will take the third game of the series.
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