The last time Max Scherzer took the mound in Miller Park, the Washington Nationals' 31-year-old starter struck out 16 batters, taking a perfect game into the seventh inning before eventually giving up a hit and a walk in a complete game shutout. Scherzer went on to throw a no-hitter in the game after he shut down the Brewers.
A year-plus later, Scherzer takes the mound tonight in the series opener of the Nationals' three-game set in Milwaukee on a bit of a hot streak after getting off to a shaky start in his second year in Washington's rotation.
Over his last four starts, the nine-year veteran is (3-0) with the Nationals 3-1 in his outings, over which he's put up a 1.29 ERA (down from 4.35 in 31 IP in April and 3.83 in 42 ⅓ IP in May), a 2.12 FIP (down from 4.54 in April and 4.14 in May), three walks (0.96 BB/9), 38 Ks (12.21 K/9) and a .162/.186/.293 line against in 28 innings.
Last time out before tonight, Scherzer struck out 10 in six innings of work, giving up four hits total and one earned run in what ended up a 7-3 loss the Padres in Petco Park in which he threw 113 pitches, receiving no decision when San Diego scored six in the bottom of the eighth to turn a 3-1 deficit into a 7-3 lead.
"They had a good game plan against me," Scherzer told reporters after the game.
"They were able to go out there and grind some ABs out and really play the foul ball game and really seemed to have a number on what I was doing and were able to lay off certain pitches and foul other pitches off, so I tip my hat to them and how they approached me."
It was the third start in four June outings and the fifth time this season Scherzer reached double-digits in Ks.
On the year, before tonight, Scherzer was (8-4) in 15 starts, with a 3.29 ERA, a 3.70 FIP, 25 walks (2.22 BB/9) and 128 Ks (11.37 K/9) in 101 ⅓ IP, over which he's held opposing hitters to a combined .201/.257/.396 line.
Here's the lineup that will back Scherzer up when the Nationals take on the Brewers tonight in Miller Park: