Nationals' Scherzer looks to slow Brewers (Sep 02, 2017)

BY AP • September 2, 2017

MILWAUKEE -- Dusty Baker still plans to go with a six-man rotation at some point during this home stretch of the 2017 season. It just won't be this weekend.

Baker had originally planned to use an extra starter during the Washington Nationals' four-game series at Milwaukee but instead will keep his rotation on a regular schedule for the time being.

So the Nationals will hand the ball to Max Scherzer on Saturday when they take on the Brewers in the third game of a four-game set at Miller Park.

"It was subject to change and now we're going to give them an extra day at a different time," Baker said.

Scherzer (13-5, 2.21 ERA) returned from his second career stint on the disabled list to throw seven innings of one-run ball against the Miami Marlins on Aug. 28. He struck out 10 in that contest and has fanned 29 batters over his last three starts.

He's beaten the Brewers once already this season, giving up one run -- a solo homer by Travis Shaw -- while striking out nine over six innings on July 27 and is 2-2 with a 2.48 ERA in seven career appearances against Milwaukee, including a 1-1 mark and 3.27 ERA in four appearances at Miller Park.

Looking to extend their winning streak to four games, the Brewers hand the ball to rookie right-hander Brandon Woodruff, who was recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Friday when rosters expanded.

Woodruff's major league career got off to an auspicous start -- he suffered a strained hamstring while warming up for his debut against St. Louis on June 13.

He finally made his debut on Aug. 4, tossing 6 1/3 shutout innings to earn the victory at Tampa Bay and went 2-1 with a 1.62 ERA in three starts before he was optioned back to Colorado Springs in late August when Chase Anderson returned from the disabled list.

Brewers manager Craig Counsell doesn't think the rookie will have any problems taking the mound for a team in the playoff hunt, going up against a potential Cy Young Award candidate.

"I would worry about the Nationals lineup more than Max Scherzer," Counsell said. "That's more important. They've got a good lineup. The way (Woodruff) handled his first three starts gives us a lot of confidence that he'll handle this one the same way. He doesn't have to do anything different than he's done in the first three starts. He's been plenty good enough."

While the Nationals have the National League East all but clinched and, thanks to the Los Angeles Dodgers' dominance, appear locked into the NL's No. 2 slot, the Brewers still have plenty to play for.

Their 1-0 victory Friday kept them 3 1/2 games behind the first-place Chicago Cubs, who beat the Atlanta Braves 2-0 earlier in the day, but they picked up a full game on Colorado and sit just 1 1/2 games behind the Rockies for the second wild-card spot.

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