Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves
When and Where: Sunday, Sept. 8, SunTrust Park, Atlanta, Ga., 1:20 p.m. EDT.
While the Washington Nationals have won all three games Max Scherzer has started since coming off the injured list, he has not won any of them. The three-time Cy Young Award winner looks to rediscover his groove Sunday in the series finale versus the streaking and NL East-leading Atlanta Braves.
Is Scherzer set for stretch run?
Scherzer (9-5, 2.60 ERA) has neither thrown more than 90 pitches nor lasted more than six innings in his three starts since recovering from a strained rhomboid. A lesser concern is that the right-hander has yielded a home run in each outing while giving up seven runs in 14 1-3 innings in those starts.
Max Scherzer, Mechanics (forward/stop action) pic.twitter.com/4kP46yrkmp
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 6, 2019
Scherzer had one bad inning Tuesday versus the New York Mets, serving up a two-run homer in a four-run fourth that accounted for all the offense against him over six innings before the Nationals pulled out an 11-10 victory. The righty is 3-3 with a 2.98 ERA in nine starts against division rivals this season heading into his first appearance against the Braves and has struck out 79 in 57 1-3 innings.
Max Scherzer said earlier that he expects to be full intensity for around 100 pitches against the Braves tomorrow. Another step closer to being his normal self, if all works out.
— Jesse Dougherty (@dougherty_jesse) September 7, 2019
Scherzer has not fared all that well at SunTrust Park since is 2017 opening, going 2-3 with a 4.18 ERA in five starts there and losing the last two while getting tagged for 11 runs in nine innings. He is 9-7 with a 3.87 ERA in 20 lifetime starts versus Atlanta after going 2-2 with a 3.19 ERA in five matchups last year.
Freddie Freeman has two homers and five extra-base hits off Scherzer but is 7 for 34 (.206) lifetime against him. Nick Markakis is 19 for 63 (.302) with six doubles while also striking out 13 times, and Ronald Acuna is 4 for 9 with a double and a triple.
Soroka trying to power through September for Braves
Technically a rookie, Mike Soroka (11-3, 2.53) appears to be hitting the wall as he crossed the 150-inning threshold in his last start and has not shown the same effectiveness he had earlier this season.
"To be able to go head-to-head with him Sunday, a guy that has deserved and won Cy Youngs before and arguably deserves it again, that's going to be pretty cool to match up against him."
— FOX Sports: Braves (@FOXSportsBraves) September 6, 2019
Soroka, though, did end an eight-start winless drought Monday versus Toronto, shaking off a pair of solo home runs and allowing three runs in five innings of Atlanta’s 6-3 home win. The 22-year-old is 5-2 with a 4.02 ERA in 11 starts but has posted a 5.36 ERA in his last seven outings at SunTrust, giving up three or more runs in six of them.
The right-hander is 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA in three starts against Washington, with one start cut short after taking a comebacker off the shin. Soroka had a no-decision in the nation’s capital July 31, conceding only a solo homer to Juan Soto and two other hits over seven innings as Atlanta’s bullpen squandered a three-run lead before winning 5-4 in 10 innings.
Soto and Trea Turner have given Soroka fits, going a combined 7 for 14.
The Nationals are:
- 1-5 in their last six road games vs. the Braves.
- 1-5 in their last six games vs. NL East teams.
- 1-5 in their last six games vs. above-.500 teams.
The Braves are:
- 12-2 in Soroka’s last 14 starts vs. NL East teams.
- 10-2 in Soroka’s last 12 starts on five days of rest.
- 25-9 in their last 34 games vs. right-handed starters.