Washington Nationals at Miami Marlins game preview

BY foxsports • September 21, 2016


TV: FOX Sports Florida

TIME: Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. ET

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MIAMI -- It's your move, Max Scherzer.

After Jose Fernandez of the Miami Marlins threw a gem on Tuesday night, beating the Washington Nationals 1-0, now it's time for another star in this series, Scherzer of the Washington Nationals, to try to match.

Scherzer, who starts on Wednesday against Miami, is in the running to win the NL's Cy Young award.

Scherzer (17-7, 2.78 ERA) entered Tuesday tied for first in the NL in wins and sixth in ERA. He also leads the majors with 259 strikeouts.

Fernandez (16-8, 2.86 ERA, 253 strikeouts) is also in the running for Cy Young.

Among the other candidates are three pitchers from the Chicago Cubs -- Jake Arrieta (17-7, 2.96 ERA), Jon Lester (17-4, 2.40) and Kyle Hendricks (15-8, 2.06) -- as well as Johnny Cueto (16-5, 2.86) and Madison Bumgarner (14-9, 2.57) of the San Francisco Giants.

Washington's Stephen Strasburg (15-4, 3.60 ERA) had been in the race until he got hurt. Clayton Kershaw (11-3, 1.73 ERA) of the Los Angeles Dodgers was the favorite until he got hurt.

When you add up all the numbers and all the variables, the Cy Young race is too close to call.

But if you ask Nationals players, they are no doubt backing Scherzer.

"Every out matters to him," Nationals center fielder Trea Turner told the media after his last start. "He goes out every inning and throws up zeroes. He's a competitor."

Scherzer will probably get just two more starts this regular season, so 20 wins do not seem possible. But if he were to get to 19 wins, it would be the second-best season of his career in that category. He won 21 games in 2013 when he finished 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA with the Detroit Tigers.

His current 2.78 ERA is the lowest of his nine-year career.

On Wednesday, Scherzer will face Miami's Tom Koehler, who has a much more modest goal. He has a chance to win at least 10 games for the third straight season. He is 30-35 during that span.

Against the Nationals (88-63), Koehler will try to send the NL East leaders to their fifth straight loss, which would be a bit of an alarming slump just a couple of weeks before the playoffs start.

"The thing I take out of it is I quit counting," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said of his team's losing streak. "We're just not getting that big hit."

The Marlins (76-75), meanwhile, are looking for their fourth straight win. They are also looking to keep their slim postseason hopes alive while making life more difficult for the teams they are chasing in the NL wild-card race -- the New York Mets, the San Francisco Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals.

"I don't know what the elimination number is," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "But I know if we can go about think about putting a win up on the board every day, then it makes it harder (on the teams Miami is chasing)."

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