Max Scherzer is standing in the way of the Los Angeles Dodgers extending their winning streak. However, his Washington Nationals teammates have struggled to provide any run support in his most recent outings at home.
Looking for their seventh consecutive win, the Dodgers will try to send the Nationals to a fourth straight defeat in a Scherzer home start on Friday night in Washington.
Among the major league leaders in ERA, Scherzer (7-4, 2.14 ERA) has allowed more than two earned runs just twice over his 15 starts this season. The right-hander yielded just three runs while going 3-0 in four June starts. He gave up 12 hits while striking out 24 and walking six over 19 innings.
One of those runs came as he tossed six innings during a 5-1 victory at Miami on Sunday, when he also topped the 2,900-career strikeout mark.
“Everybody knows (Scherzer) attacks the strike zone, and (the opponents are) coming out swinging,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “He settled down, made his pitches and looked great.”
The Nationals saw their four-game winning streak end Thursday with a 6-2, five-inning, rain-shortened loss to Los Angeles.
Washington, which had won 14 of its previous 17 games prior to Thursday, has totaled just one run while losing each of Scherzer’s last three home starts. In fact, the Nationals have failed to score a run with Scherzer in the game over that span.
Scherzer yielded a run and three hits over six innings of a 3-0 loss at Los Angeles on April 11. Max Muncy has had the most regular-season success of any Dodger against Scherzer, going 4-for-11 with a homer.
Muncy’s fifth-inning grand slam broke open a 2-2 game on Thursday, his 18th home run of the season. Muncy has homered four times in the past five games and has nine RBIs during that span.
“He plays the game, loves the game. Loves to compete,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said recently. “He just wants to help us win baseball games. That’s what I love and respect about him.”
The Dodgers’ scheduled Friday starter, Julio Urias (9-3, 3.95 ERA), earned a 9-5 win over the Nationals on April 10 in Los Angeles. He gave up three runs on nine hits, including a Juan Soto homer, over 5 2/3 innings. The left-hander, 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA in his past three starts, has yielded at least one homer in seven straight contests.
Urias, though, did set a career high with 12 strikeouts while allowing two runs over 5 1/3 innings of a 3-2 win over the visiting Chicago Cubs on Saturday.
Washington’s Kyle Schwarber did not face Urias earlier this season, and has not homered in the past two games after going deep 12 times over the previous 10 contests. Schwarber, however, is batting .362 (17-for-47) over his past 12 games.
Nationals shortstop Trea Turner could miss a second consecutive game due to a finger injury he sustained Wednesday, when he hit for the cycle versus Tampa Bay. Turner remains day-to-day.
Los Angeles has outscored Washington 19-7 while winning all four meetings between the teams this season.
–Field Level Media