The Nationals did just what the needed to against the Braves, swept them. They trounced them in the series opener, stole the 2nd game on a walk off home run from the white hot Bryce Harper, and managed to come back and win the series finale. The Nationals played well and got good performances from Gio, Fister, and Zimmermann. The Nationals have been firing on all cylinders, winning 8 of their last 10 games. Going into Arizona, the Nationals are in 2nd place with a 17-15 record and look to keep the pressure on the Diamondbacks. While the Dbacks are currently under .500, their pythagorean gives gives them a little more credit at 17-13 and they have scored 140 runs and allowed 122. If they Nationals want to catch up to the Mets, they are going to have to make sure the home team's luck stays bad.
Max Scherzer has been absolutely lights out this season. He's a fine example of why the win/loss record for a pitcher means very little. His ERA sits at 2.11 and his FIP is a minuscule 1.96. He's got a 10.3 K/9 and walked so few hitters it's not even worth mentioning. Only one time this season has Scherzer not gotten past the 6th inning and that was his second game of the season. 5 of his 6 starts this season have seen him go to the 7th inning or further. He's been pretty great and he will hopefully continue this strong run tonight in Arizona. His last start he allowed 5 runs, but it was due to a home run launched by Giancarlo Stanton, so I'm not sure if that counts. Either way, the Dbacks have seen very little of Scherzer, but what they have seen he's allowed them hardly anything. Naturally, we're pulling for this to be a typical outcome for tonight.
Scherzer vs. Current Dbacks
Josh Collmenter is having a typical season for the big right hander. Pretty much all of his numbers are right in line with his career norms and his win/loss record sits at an even 3-3 with one complete game on the season. In his 5th MLB season, he's doing alright for himself. His last 4 games have been pretty great, going 9, 6, 8, then 7 innings in each of his last 4 games. Though he went deep, his last start was his worst of the 4, where he allowed 5 runs, all earned. Collmenter has not seen a whole lot of the Nationals, but in the extremely small sample, they have hit him quite hard.
Collmenter vs. Current Nationals