MLB In Game Preview: Pirates at Nationals

Pirates at Nationals Preview

Max Scherzer hasn’t missed a beat since capturing his second straight – and third career – Cy Young Award last season, winning four straight decisions while allowing fewer than three earned runs on six occasions in 2018. Scherzer aims to continue his good fortune on Tuesday as the Washington Nationals play the second contest of their four-game series versus the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates.

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Trea Turner highlighted his three-hit performance with an RBI single in Monday’s 3-2 victory for Washington, which has won two straight for the first time in two weeks to even its record after four contests on its 10-game homestand. The 24-year-old Turner is 11-for-21 with three RBIs and four runs scored in his last five games overall and 2-for-6 lifetime versus Tuesday starter Chad Kuhl. Corey Dickerson belted a solo homer in the seventh inning to trim Pittsburgh’s deficit to one, but the National League Central-leading Pirates failed to close the gap and saw their five-game winning streak halted as they began their nine-game road trip. Dickerson is heating up to the tune of going 11-for-31 with four RBIs and six runs scored in his last nine games ahead of his first encounter with Scherzer.

TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, AT&T SportsNet-Pittsburgh, MASN (Washington)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Pirates RH Chad Kuhl (3-1, 4.55 ERA) vs. Nationals RH Max Scherzer (5-1, 1.62)

Kuhl posted his second straight victory on Wednesday after allowing three runs on six hits while striking out a career high-tying eight in an 8-3 triumph versus Detroit. The 25-year-old excelled in his lone career start at Nationals Park, surrendering just one hit over six shutout innings on July 17, 2016. Kuhl wasn’t as fortune in his most recent encounter against Washington, as he was pummeled for six runs on 10 hits in four innings in an 8-4 setback on May 16, 2017.

Scherzer registered double-digit strikeouts for the fourth time this season after fanning 10 in six innings of a 15-2 romp at San Francisco on Wednesday. The 33-year-old has struck out 57 against just nine walks over 39.0 frames while permitting seven earned runs in that stretch. Scherzer, who has a pair of no-hitters to highlight a 4-2 career mark versus Pittsburgh, has kept Gregory Polanco (1-for-11) and Francisco Cervelli (1-for-12) under wraps.

WALK-OFFS

1. Pittsburgh CF Starling Marte hit safely in nine straight games before being retired as a pinch-hitter in the series opener.

2. Washington RF Bryce Harper has walked a major league-high 38 times in 29 contests, putting him on pace for 212 this season.

3. Pirates 1B Sean Rodriguez is mired in a 1-for-18 slump over his last eight games.

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