Washington Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer hasn't picked up a win during the young season.
St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Carlos Martinez hasn't won a game as a starter since July 7, 2018.
One of them could break through Wednesday when Nationals host the Cardinals in the rubber game of athree-game series.
Other than an opening-game hiccup, Scherzer (0-1, 2.37 ERA) has pitched like the ace he is. Over his past two starts, he has allowed one run in 13 innings while striking out 15.
Last time out, he threw seven scoreless innings in a game the Nationals eventually won 1-0 over the Arizona Diamondbacks. He allowed two hits and struck out 10, passing Cy Young for 22nd place on the all-time strikeout list with 2,808.
"For me, it's just a test of durability to be able to go out there and just be durable, year in, year out and be able to execute pitches," Scherzer said.
That durability has been a godsend for the Nationals, who have often taxed their bullpen on days when Scherzer isn't pitching.
Against the Cardinals, Scherzer is 2-6 with a 3.31 ERA in 11 career starts. Matt Carpenter is 7-for-23 (.304) against Scherzer, but Paul Goldschmidt is 2-for-25 (.080) and Yadier Molina is 1-for-17 (059).
Martinez (0-3, 7.80 ERA) has tossed five innings in each of his three starts. Last time out, he allowed six runs on five hits in a 9-2 loss to the Phillies on Friday. He walked two and struck out five. All the damage came in the second inning and he ultimately retired the last 11 batters he faced.
"It wasn't like he was all over the place," manager Mike Shildt said. "He just didn't make an ideal pitch to the pitcher and a couple of balls fell. It's not so much as what Carlos didn't do tonight as much as it just didn't go his way."
Martinez is 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA and three saves in 10 career games (two starts) against the Nationals. Jordy Mercer is 8-for-28 (.286) versus Martinez, Kyle Schwarber is 7-for-27 (.259) and Josh Harrison is 4-for-15 (.267).
He worked exclusively out of the bullpen in 2019 and was 0-3 with a 9.90 ERA in five starts last season.
The Nationals were dealt another blow on the injury front Tuesday. Two days after Stephen Strasburg landed on the injured list with an inflamed right shoulder, Juan Soto joined him on the 10-day IL with a strained left shoulder. Soto's diagnosis was determined by an MRI exam after he experienced triceps pain.
"It's early. We got some days off (coming up), so we thought, 'Hey, we're not going to take any chances with him,'" manager Dave Martinez said. "We're just going to try to get him right as quick as possible."
Soto is hitting .300 with two homers, eight RBIs and 11 runs, but he was 1-for-13 over his past four games.
On the field, the news was better for Washington, which rallied for two runs in the eighth inning off reliever Giovanny Gallegos to defeat the Cardinals 3-2 on Tuesday. The go-ahead run scored on a bases-loaded walk to Yan Gomes.
Washington starter Patrick Corbin, who came in with a 21.32 ERA, pitched six shutout innings.
The Cardinals were unable to cash in a strong effort by Adam Wainwright, who gave up a run on five hits in seven innings. He struck out 10 and walked one while throwing 100 pitches.
"First one we've had that got away, so to speak, late," Shildt said. "That's going to happen occasionally. They don't taste real good."
--Field Level Media