What to Watch For: Max encore in store?
What will he do next? Max Scherzer provided one of the most dominant starts of the season last time out, when he threw a complete game one-hitter and struck out 16 Brewers. Washington's ace will go for an encore against Pittsburgh on Saturday, and he'll be matched against Francisco Liriano.
Scherzer has gone 7-5 with a 1.93 ERA in his first 13 starts for the Nationals this season, and he delivered a monthly ERA under 2.00 in both April and May. The right-hander gave up four earned runs in each of his first two starts this month before flirting with perfection against the Brewers last Sunday.
Liriano, meanwhile, is pitching through his own stellar season. The southpaw is just 4-5 this season, but he has a 2.94 ERA and he's held the opposition to 52 hits in 82 2/3 innings. Liriano has been especially good on the road this season, where he's notched a 2-1 record and a 1.52 ERA in six outings.
Here's a couple other matchups and games to look forward to on Saturday.
Sigh Young -- TB @ CLE, 7:10 p.m. ET
Corey Kluber has 111 strikeouts and 18 walks this season. So how can he lead the American League with eight losses? Kluber, the reigning Cy Young Award-winner, has seen his ERA creep up one run higher than last year (3.54 to 2.44), but he's 3-3 with a 2.25 mark over his last seven outings.
The surging Rays, meanwhile, have moved back into contention on the strength of their road record. Tampa Bay is just 19-19 at home this season, and it went into Friday's series opener against Cleveland with a 19-11 road mark. Erasmo Ramirez will get the ball on Saturday for the Rays.
Ramirez has won four straight starts for Tampa Bay, and he's seen his ERA cut nearly in half over his last eight starts. The right-hander had an 8.31 ERA after eight outings, but he's 6-1 with a 2.83 ERA over his last eight outings -- seven of them starts -- and he's given up more than three runs once in that span.
West Watch -- HOU @ SEA, 10:10 p.m. ET
The Astros have reached first place in the AL West with a volatile mix of power and pitching, and they rank fourth among all league staffs in ERA. Dallas Keuchel has been one of the greatest forces in that effort, posting an 8-2 record and a 2.04 ERA in a league-high 101 1/3 innings pitched.
The Mariners, meanwhile, will counter with their own young ace in the making. Taijuan Walker, just 22 years old, is starting to thrive in the Majors, and he's gone 3-1 with a 1.55 ERA in his last four starts. Walker has a 5.00 ERA in 13 starts this season, his first with more than nine games in the Majors.