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Game Thread: Kuhl takes on Scherzer

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MLB: Cincinnati Reds at Pittsburgh Pirates Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

In the second of four games in the nation’s capital, Chad Kuhl (3-1, 4.55) takes on the Nationals co-ace Max Scherzer (5-1, 1.62), who no-hit the guest Pirates in this same ballpark nearly three years ago.

Scherzer, who’s never missed a start in the majors since being promoted for good in 2009, is the two-time reigning National League Cy Young Award winner who did the same for the Tigers in 2013, and is working towards his fifth straight season of 250 or more strikeouts and seventh of 230 or more.

He does this with a fastball that he uses 55% of the time and which has dropped a tick to 93.6 mph this year, from a peak of 94.3 in 2016, mixed with devastating sliders (19%) and changeups (17%)

Despite the victory yesterday against Jameson Taillon, who throws from the same right side as Kuhl, Washington manager Dave Martinez is shaking up his lineup a bit tonight with Bryce Harper moved up to lead off and Matt Adams to the three slot, while the pitcher Scherzer will bat eighth. Pirates’ manager Clint Hurdle, meanwhile, has posted the same lineup that he has settled into this season.

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PIRATES

1 L Adam Frazier 2B

2 L Gregory Polanco RF

3 R Starling Marte CF

4 S Josh Bell 1B

5 L Corey Dickerson LF

6 R Francisco Cervelli C

7 L Colin Moran 3B

8 R Jordy Mercer SS

9 R Chad Kuhl RHP

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NATIONALS

1 L Bryce Harper RF

2 R Trea Turner SS

3 L Matt Adams LF

4 R Ryan Zimmerman 1B

5 R Howie Kendrick 2B

6 R Michael A. Taylor CF

7 S Matt Wieters C

8 R Max Scherzer RHP

9 S Wilmer Difo 2B