The Atlanta Braves come into Wednesday as winners of three straight and five of their last six thanks to an 8-0 blowout victory over the National League East champion Washington Nationals Tuesday night.
In just his second career start in the majors, 21-year-old rookie Luiz Gohara will be tasked with going up against reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer and the Nationals Wednesday night.
Gohara is 0-1 on the season after the left-hander allowed six earned runs on four hits and struck out six while issuing four walks over four innings pitched against the Texas Rangers on September 6. Despite the rough start, the Braves have high expectations for Gohara as he’s ranked their No. 7 overall prospect by MLB Pipeline and No. 2 southpaw pitcher behind Kolby Allard.
He relied heavily on his fastball against Texas, using it 59 percent of the time with an average velocity of 96.4 mph. He used his secondary pitch, a slider with an average velocity of 84.5 mph, roughly 33.7 percent of the time. Lastly, his changeup was used around 7.2 percent of the time, hovering around 89 mph.
Scherzer enters with numbers akin to his Cy Young-winning performance a season ago. He’s 14-5 with a 2.32 ERA, 2.96 FIP and 3.20 xFIP through 27 starts. Through 34 starts with Washington last year, the right-hander produced a 2.96 ERA, 3.24 FIP and 3.37 xFIP. Additionally, his K/9 is up to 12.06 (11.19 in 2016) while his BB/9 has only slightly increased to 2.32 (2.21 in 2016).
Following a four-game stretch that saw the ace of Washington’s staff allow just six earned runs over 26 innings pitched while striking out 31 and walking seven, Scherzer came back down to earth in his last start, allowing four earned on six hits in six innings of work.
Through three starts against the Braves in 2017, Scherzer is 1-1 and has allowed seven earned runs on 12 hits and stuck out 23 while walking seven over 19 2⁄3 innings pitched.
Freddie Freeman went 3-for-5 with three RBIs in the series opener at Nationals Park last night and is now slashing .323/.419/.619 with 26 home runs and 164 wRC+ through 99 games with Atlanta this season. He’s 4-for-15 (.267) in his career against Scherzer with a single, double and a pair of home runs. Nick Markakis, who was hitless in five at-bats last night, has had reasonable success as the right-hander throughout his career as well. He’s 11-for-43 (.256) lifetime against Scherzer with six doubles and two RBIs.
As for Washington’s offense, Ryan Zimmerman went 2-for-4 last night and is now 19-for-49 (.388) against the Braves in 13 games this season. He’s currently slashing .303/.359/.557 with 31 home runs and 135 wRC+ through 131 games.
Time/Date: Wednesday, September 13, 7:05 p.m. ET
Location: Nationals Park
TV: Fox Sports Southeast
Radio: 680 AM/93.7 FM, Braves Radio Network