By Michael Marzzacco
Friday’s MLB Division Series features four games. Only one of these games features arguably two of the best pitchers in baseball going head to head. Max Scherzer takes the hill for a ballclub that hasn’t gotten past a division series in their short history yet. His opponent, Clayton Kershaw hopes change history of his own as he carries a 4.59 career Postseason ERA, a shocking number for the three time Cy Young award winner.
The last time the Nats batters saw Kershaw was on June 20 in a contest where they could only muster one hit off of him. Scherzer leads the MLB this season with 284 strikeouts and won 20 games for the second time in his career.
When Scherzer spoke with reporters the other day, he seemed up for the challenge.
“It’s what you play this game for. You don’t measure yourself against the worst. You measure yourself against the best. And I think this is the best opponent I could possibly face with the Dodgers and Kershaw throwing,” said the right hander.
The fans will be out in full force today as the Nats hope to be the team to deliver for a championship-starved city.
“This is what you play for,” said longtime oufielder Jayson Werth, the hero in Game 4 of the NLDS in 2012 that also had World Series experience winning with the Phillies in 2008. “You get there early to Spring Training to prepare for this. We did a good job in the regular season. Now it’s just about getting it done in the postseason.”
This won’t be an easy task for Washington with the absence of catcher Wilson Ramos from their lineup who suffered a torn ACL near the end of the regular season. Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy are coming back from injuries and should be in the lineup today.
Murphy led the Mets to the fall classic last year as he homered in six consecutive games including the game-winner in Game 5 of last year’s NLDS against this same Dodgers team.
“This is the culmination of a group of men coming together and accomplishing the goal that you set out for in Spring Training. Now we get to reap the benefits of that goal accomplished and see if we can take advantage through the division series,” said Murphy.
Harper loves the big stage. Despite the ballclub falling short in their previous two runs, Harper has shown to come up big. Through nine playoff games he’s clubbed four home runs. He was still young back then and while he’s still young now as a 23-year old, he hopes to play an even bigger role this upcoming postseason.
You can catch tonight’s game on Fox Sports 1. First pitch is at 5:38.