Game 39 lineups: Nats at Mets

NEW YORK - The first game of the season between the Nationals and Mets would be a big deal regardless, but there's added intrigue tonight because Max Scherzer is taking the mound for the first time since his record 20-strikeout game.

That game on Wednesday, as you might expect, took a lot out of Scherzer, who threw 119 total pitches in beating the Tigers. How has his arm felt since? "Let's just say I'm happy that we had six days (between starts)," the right-hander said with a laugh.

If history is an indication of things to come, Scherzer should have another big outing in him. In the four previous cases where a pitcher struck out 20 in nine innings, three times that pitcher came back to strike out at least 10 batters in his next start. The lone exception: Roger Clemens, who did strike out 10 following his first 20-strikeout game in 1986 but only struck out eight the next time in 1996.

And if you're wondering (and you might as well), the modern record for strikeouts in back-to-back games is 33, set by Kerry Wood in 1998 (he followed up his 20-strikeout game with 13 the next time out). So Scherzer would need to strike out 13 Mets tonight to match that record, 14 to break it.

The Nationals are facing a mighty tough right-hander themselves in Noah Syndergaard, the hardest-throwing starting pitcher in baseball (average fastball velocity: 97.7 mph). Dusty Baker has one new lineup wrinkle: Jayson Werth is batting second tonight, with Anthony Rendon dropped to sixth. The Mets, meanwhile, don't have first baseman Lucas Duda in their lineup tonight, for reasons not yet clear. (Update: Duda is out with a bad back, possibly for the entire series. David Wright also is out tonight, also with a back issue.)

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at NEW YORK METS
Where: Citi Field, New York
Gametime: 7:10 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB Network (out of market), MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, XM 869, MLB.com
Weather: Slight chance of rain, 60 degrees, wind 11 mph out to center field

Scherzer-Head-On-Road.jpgNATIONALS (23-15)
CF Ben Revere
LF Jayson Werth
RF Bryce Harper
2B Daniel Murphy
1B Ryan Zimmerman
3B Anthony Rendon
C Wilson Ramos
SS Danny Espinosa
RHP Max Scherzer

METS (21-16)
RF Curtis Granderson
SS Asdrubal Cabrera
LF Michael Conforto
CF Yoenis Cespedes
2B Neil Walker
1B Eric Campbell
C Kevin Plawecki
RHP Noah Syndergaard
3B Matt Reynolds

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