Friday evening saw Joe Ross take the hill for the Nationals and the rookie did not disappoint, going 7.1 innings, allowing only one run and striking out 11 hitters on the Pirates. That is no small feat for a rookie pitcher making only his 3rd start in the big leagues since being called up in early June. While A.J. Burnett did pretty well himself, it just wasn't enough as he allowed 4 runs in his 6.2 innings of work. Today, Bryce Harper will be back in the lineup after he's had to sit out a few games due to some issues with his knee and hamstring. With Max Scherzer on the hill against Francisco Liriano the Nationals will look to take the series from the Pirates and get back into a winning routine.
Liriano is in his 3rd season as a pirate and has had continued success while he's been in that uniform. In his last 3 starts for the Pirates Liriano went 7, 8, and 8 innings and picked up the win 2 of the 3 times. While the win loss column doesn't mean a whole lot, if your starter gives you a chance to win a game, then they are doing something right. Liriano has been pretty consistent this season, having only a few starts that saw him exit earlier than the 6th inning, so he will no doubt give the Nationals a run for their money today. Liriano has only 43 plate appearances against the Nationals and it is something of a mixed bag. Denard Span and Anthony Rendon seem to get the best of Liriano, so keep an eye out for them.
Liriano vs. Current Nationals
Max Scherzer's last start was an awesome complete game shutout that saw him throwing a no hitter until the 6th inning of the game. Despite all that, the complete game shutout was a bright spot the Nationals had needed for a little while and quite frankly it was just fun to watch. Scherzer is just such a great pitcher to have on the Nationals and it's like a breath of fresh air every time he takes the hill because you always feel there is a strong chance the Nationals will win that day. Scherzer has 76 plate appearances against the Pirates and the results look quite pleasing, so let's hope there is continued success there.
Scherzer vs. Current Pirates