Washington Nationals at Phillies Preview (8/29-8/31)
Max Scherzer (14-7, 2.92) vs. Jerad Eickhoff (9-12, 3.87) – 7:05 p.m ET, MASN2
Tomorrow night, Scherzer will try to tie Stephen Strasburg for the most wins in the Washington Nationals rotation this season. He was dominant against the Orioles on August 25 as he went eight innings, gave up two hits, and struck out ten on 95 pitches in a win.
Since the All-Star Break, Scherzer has double-digit strikeouts in four of his last eight starts. Over his last eight starts, he is 4-1 with a 2.65 ERA and has held opponents to a .188 batting average. Plus, the home run numbers have gone down compared to the first half (four homers allowed in the second half).
This will be Scherzer’s fourth start against the Phillies this season. In his first three starts, he is 2-0 with a 2.57 ERA. Since he joined the Nats rotation, Scherzer is 5-0 and has given up 11 runs in seven starts vs. Philadelphia. Odubel Herrera is 6-for-19 against him with a RBI.
It has been an up-and-down season for Eickhoff in 2016. He had a quality start against the White Sox in his last outing on August 25. He went six innings, gave up two runs on five hits, and struck out two in a win. He has not lost a game since July 26 against the Marlins (five starts).
While Eickhoff hasn’t lost a game lately, the 26-year-old right-hander has an ERA of 4.05 in his last eight starts and opponents are hitting .280 against him with seven home runs in the month of August. Eickhoff has eaten a lot of innings for the Phillies this season (tenth in the NL), but he only threw 71 pitches in six innings last time out.
Eickhoff has one career start against the Nats and that was back in September 2015. He went seven innings, gave up two runs on five hits, struck out ten, and walked one on 99 pitches in the win. The one home run in that game came off the bat of Jayson Werth (2-for-3, two RBI’s).
Prediction: Out of the three games in this series, I think this is the game where the Phillies have the best chance to win, even with Scherzer on the mound for the Nats. While you can’t fully trust most of the Washington Nationals bullpen, I think Scherzer puts up another good outing to secure the win.
Next: Wednesday's Matchup