Nats-Dodgers pitching matchups excite Baker (Jun 06, 2017)

BY AP • June 6, 2017

LOS ANGELES -- Nationals manager Dusty Baker sounded like a giddy fan anticipating the top-notch pitching matchups in Washington's next two games against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"There's going to be great pitching," Baker said. "I urge everybody to come out and watch the games because it's going to be a heck of two games."

A pair of right-handers, Washington's Max Scherzer (6-3, 2.56 ERA) and Los Angeles' Brandon McCarthy (5-2, 3.38), will oppose each other on Tuesday.

In the series finale on Wednesday, Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg (7-1, 2.91) will face Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw (7-2, 2.28).

The Nationals prevailed in Monday's arms race, with Gio Gonzalez (5-1) delivering another quality performance against the Dodgers in a 4-2 victory. Gonzalez is 4-1 with a 1.89 ERA in six career starts against the Dodgers.

"Today, the equalizer for me was the curveball," said Gonzalez, who has held Los Angeles hitters to a .179 average in his career. "I needed to throw that pitch and landed it when I needed it, too. The changeup evolved with it. So it was a lot of attacking the strike zone and being aggressive in the strike zone and trying to minimize as (many) walks as possible."

The three-game set is the first meeting between the clubs since the Dodgers captured the National League Division Series in five games last season. They won't meet again until September at Nationals Park.

"I know our guys focus on each team and each game, but this is something we look forward to, and I know those guys are looking forward to getting another crack at us," Roberts said before the Monday game. "But that's a club we have so much respect for."

In his last two starts, Scherzer has been dominant, compiling a 2-0 record with a 1.02 ERA while striking out 24 and walking two in 17 2/3 innings.

Scherzer pitched a complete game in his last outing, fanning 11 with no walks and limiting the Giants to a run on five hits in a 3-1 win on Wednesday at San Francisco. On May 26, Scherzer struck out 13, walked two and allowed a run on three hits in 8 2/3 innings in a 5-1 decision over the San Diego Padres.

Against the Dodgers, Scherzer is 2-4 with a 3.29 ERA in 10 career games (eight starts).

McCarthy allowed two runs on seven hits in four innings in a 2-0 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in his last start on Thursday. He struck out six and walked one before being lifted due to a finger blister after throwing 85 pitches. McCarthy made it through a bullpen session without incident Sunday and declared himself fit for his Tuesday start.

McCarthy has been particularly effective at home, where he is 3-0 with a 2.89 ERA in five starts while limiting opponents to a .212 batting average.

He hasn't faced the Nationals since May 14, 2014, when he was a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks. In that contest, McCarthy held Washington to a run on two hits in eight innings with seven strikeouts and a walk but did not factor into the decision. The Nationals wound up winning 5-1.

In two career starts against Washington, McCarthy is 0-1 with a 1.80 ERA, holding batters to a .135 average.



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