Is he worse in the later innings?
Scherzer is known to be able to continue to throw hard and maintain his stuff over the course of his entire start. But has that been the case as of late?
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While he may still be throwing hard, his results have not been what they are when he’s on. In the month of September, his second and third times through the order netted him a 7.36 ERA in 14.2 innings, with 20 hits and 12 earned runs allowed to go along with 18 strikeouts.
Similarly, Scherzer allowed 11 earned runs on 10 hits (2 homers) in the fourth through seventh innings when runners were on base. His inability to strand runners (he had just a 56.2% strand rate between the fourth and seventh innings) could come from diminished stuff late in games due to injuries that have piled up this year, or just general late-season fatigue, I can’t tell you definitively.
What I do know is that his past three Septembers have seen his season ERA increase each time. In 2017-2019, his September ERA was 4.05 or higher, which points to evidence of late-season tiredness.
The keys to success will seemingly involve running his pitch count up and taking plenty of long at-bats early in the game, as the Dodgers did against Corbin in game 1, is the perfect method to getting to the Nats ace. By putting runners on base, the offense will force Scherzer to throw more fastballs, which he seemingly is not comfortable doing as of late, which the team hopefully can sit on and do some damage.
All told, it will be a battle, but the team should be well equipped to do to Scherzer what the Nationals did to Kershaw yesterday, and hopefully steal a win on the road as well.