Tale of the Tape: Nola vs. Scherzer

Two of baseball’s best starting pitchers — Aaron Nola and Max Scherzer — square off when the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals meet Thursday at 1 p.m. ET (ESPN+) in Washington.

Scherzer and Nola both rank in the top seven in a host of categories among 72 qualified starters this season.

Starting pitching has been a big problem for the Nationals, but don’t blame Scherzer. Of the nine Nationals pitchers to make at least two starts this season, Scherzer is the only one with an ERA below 3.50 (his is at 2.11), the only one with a sub-1.00 WHIP (0.89) and the only one to average more than six innings per start.

Scherzer has had particular success against the Phillies in his career.

In 15 career starts against the Phillies, Scherzer is 9-1 with a 2.50 ERA. His teams are 13-2 in those games. Thirteen of those starts have come since he joined the Nationals in 2015, and in those games he is 8-0 with a 2.28 ERA. The Nats are 12-1 in his starts.

In his only start against Philadelphia this year (May 6), Scherzer allowed one run in 6⅓ innings and took a no-decision in a 5-4 Nats win.

While the Nationals have been one of baseball’s biggest disappointments, the Phillies are trying to make the postseason for the first time in seven seasons. Nola has been a huge part of their success.

Drafted seventh overall in 2014, Nola is having a breakout season and is on pace to set several personal bests.

Nola has been particularly good at limiting the long ball, allowing just eight home runs this season. In the past 25 seasons, only one Phillies pitcher has allowed 10 or fewer homers in a season in which he has started at least 25 games: Roy Halladay, in 2011.