The Nationals look for the series win against the Orioles tonight after Wednesday’s rain-delayed 3-0 setback.
Nationals manager Davey Martinez is mixing up the lineup again: Bryce Harper is leading off and Juan Soto gets the shot at the cleanup spot, making his first career start there. Michael A. Taylor returns to the lineup and is batting sixth.
Right-hander Max Scherzer (10-3, 2.06 ERA) opposes Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman (3-6, 4.48 ERA). Scherzer has lost two starts in a row. His last win was June 5 against the Rays in a 4-2 victory at Nats Park. In his last two starts, he has allowed four earned runs on eight hits over 13 innings.
Scherzer is 6-2 with a 2.87 ERA against the Orioles in 11 career starts.
Nationals manager Davey Martinez spoke earlier in the week about what sets Scherzer apart from other pitchers at this level: “One, he doesn’t like to lose, obviously, and two, is that what everybody sees is every fifth day. What I see is every day. He competes every day. The four days he doesn’t pitch, he is constantly pushing himself to the limit. I think that’s what makes him special.”
Right-hander Erick Fedde spoke this week about how Scherzer has worked on helping fine tune his slider. This is another great example of how Scherzer is not only a Cy Young pitcher, but also a great teacher and mentor of the game, helping pitchers like Fedde build from their first starts.
“He makes everybody better around him,” Martinez said. “He loves to win. Regardless if he is pitching or not. When he is sitting in the dugout, he is so in tuned into the game and what’s going on. (On Monday), he was talking to Fedde throughout the game. Just to watch him interact with players, not just pitchers, but all players. He’s pretty intense.”
The Nats have won six of their last seven against the Orioles but are 1-3 in rubber games this season. They are also only 17-18 at home despite an overall 39-33 record.
BALTIMORE ORIOLES at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, MLB.com
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 81 degrees, 10 percent chance of rain, wind 7 mph out to center field
RF Bryce Harper
SS Trea Turner
3B Anthony Rendon
LF Juan Soto
1B Mark Reynolds
CF Michael A. Taylor
2B Wilmer Difo
C Pedro Severino
RHP Max Scherzer
LF Jace Peterson
CF Adam Jones
SS Manny Machado
1B Mark Trumbo
2B Jonathan Schoop
RF Colby Rasmus
C Caleb Joseph
3B Steve Wilkerson
RHP Kevin Gausman