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Washington Nationals’ lineup for series opener with Boston Red Sox + Max Scherzer vs Rick Porcello...

Washington and Boston start a three-game set in D.C. at 7:05 PM EDT with Max Scherzer on the mound against Rick Porcello in the series opener.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello spent a lot of time together in Detroit, when they were both part of the Tigers’ rotation, talking pitching and helping one another improve their games.

It was a mutually-beneficial relationship according to both pitchers.

The two pitchers shared their thoughts on how to attack opposing hitters, and “... bounced ideas off each other,” as Scherzer told Boston Globe writer Nick Cafardo back in 2015.

”We really helped each other out. He saw things about me and made suggestions. I saw things about him and made suggestions. Things we’d see from the bench on how I was attacking guys. I thought we had a great relationship. We bounced ideas off each other. Little things like, ‘Hey, in this situation you need to throw another changeup, or double up your curveball.’ Situational stuff like that. Very minute stuff that can make a difference between another out and a hit. That can be the difference in another run or another loss.”

Tonight in the nation’s capital, Scherzer, now the Nationals’ ace, and Porcello, now with the Red Sox, meet up in the series opener of Boston’s three-game set in Washington, D.C., and Porcello said this weekend he was looking forward to matching up against his old friend and fellow Cy Young award-winner.

“We’ve been texting back and forth,” Porcello told Cafardo. “We’ve had a good time with it and I’m sure we’ll both get a kick about going against each other once the game starts.”

Porcello too said the conversations he and Scherzer had aided his development.

“We always had great conversations about pitching,” Porcello said. “He’s so smart about the game and about how to pitch to certain hitters that you couldn’t help but learn from him. I was like a sponge with him. We just had the best time with it.”

Going into tonight’s start, Scherzer is (0-3) in his last four starts, in spite of the fact that he’s put up a 2.33 ERA and a .175/.245/.340 line against in 27 innings over that stretch.

Porcello posted a 3.48 ERA and a .218/.295/.361 line against in 31 IP over five starts in June.

The battle of the Cy Young award winners gets underway at 7:05 PM EDT in Nationals Park.