Max Scherzer vs. Houston Astros
It was another great season for Max Scherzer in 2019 as he posted a 2.92 ERA in 172.1 innings with a WHIP of 1.03 and 243 strikeouts.
However, it was the first time since 2012 that he didn’t eclipse 200 innings as he struggled with back problems in the second half of the season.
It’s hard to ignore the fact that Scherzer was not quite himself when he returned with a 5.16 ERA in five September starts, and then he gave up 3 earned runs in first postseason start.
But he’s seemingly put those concerns to rest having allowed just 1 earned run in his last 15 postseason innings with 21 strikeouts.
His outing against the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS was a thing of beauty allowing just 1 hit and 2 walks over 7 shutout innings with 11 strikeouts.
That alone is most likely why the Nationals decided to go with him in Game 1 over Stephen Strasburg with both starters on plenty of rest. Maybe too much with Scherzer last pitching on October 13 (nine days ago).
Scherzer has not pitched against the Houston Astros since joining the Washington Nationals in 2015. But several Astros players have seen him before.
Michael Brantley has the most experience against Max with 15 hits in 44 at-bats, including a home run.
Left-handed hitting Josh Reddick surprisingly has owned Scherzer with 5 hits in 11 at-bats off the righty.
This year lefties have hit Scherzer pretty well with a .255 batting average compared to just .193 for righties.
Luckily for Scherzer and the Washington Nationals, the Astros will at most have three lefties in their lineup in Reddick, Brantley, and Yordan Alvarez.