Thursday night in San Diego will be special.
“Honestly, you don’t see many pitching matchups like this one,” Padres manager Jayce Tingler said Wednesday while looking forward to the next day’s contest against the visiting Washington Nationals.
Three-time Cy Young Award winner and seven-time All-Star Max Scherzer will take the mound for the Nationals against five-time All-Star Yu Darvish.
“It’s quite a test,” Washington manager Dave Martinez said of the two veteran aces.
The Nationals climbed back into second place in the National League East with Wednesday night’s 15-5 romp over the Padres. A win of the four-game series in San Diego would get Washington back to .500.
The Padres, meanwhile, were winning two of every three games at home until the Nationals won two of the first three games in this series. The Padres want to finish this homestand strong going into the All-Star break because they have only 29 home games after the break.
“This is an important week,” Tingler said.
Which puts even more pressure on the key figures in Scherzer vs. Darvish.
A closer look at the veteran pitchers.
Scherzer, 36, is 7-4 this season with a 2.10 ERA in 16 starts while limiting the opposition to a .179 batting average. He has given up 24 runs (22 earned) on 59 hits with 21 walks and 127 strikeouts. Scherzer has a 182-97 career record with a 3.17 ERA in 393 appearances (384 starts).
Darvish, 34, is 7-3 this season with a 2.65 ERA in 17 starts while limiting the opposition to a .198 batting average. He has surrendered 32 runs (30 earned) on 73 hits with 24 walks and 123 strikeouts in 102 innings. Darvish has a 78-59 career record with a 3.40 ERA in 199 games, all starts.
The numbers are so close. Each pitcher has averaged approximately six innings per start. The Nationals are 9-7 in games started by Scherzer. The Padres are 13-4 in games started by Darvish.
But Scherzer has been stronger recently, posting a 2-0 record with a 1.56 ERA in his past four starts. Darvish is 1-1 with a 3.91 ERA in that same span.
Scherzer has given up no more than one run in five starts since the end of May, and no more than two runs in any start since the end of April.
Darvish has surrendered four earned runs in three of his past seven starts and has served up seven homers over that span. He is 2-2 since June 1, and the Padres are 3-3 in his past six starts.
Scherzer owns a 4-2 record with a 2.13 ERA in 11 career starts against San Diego. He has flustered Manny Machado (5-for-34, 15 strikeouts), who is 10-for-22 (.455) with three homers, nine RBIs and 11 runs scored in his past seven games overall.
Darvish won his lone career start against Washington in grand fashion. He scattered five hits and struck out 12 over eight innings in a 2-0 victory on June 1, 2014.
–Field Level Media
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