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Game #31 Preview: 5/11, Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Washington Nationals

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The return of the Max to Chase Field tonight, as former D-back Max Scherzer makes his first appearance here since becoming a National.

Chris Trotman/Getty Images
Max Scherzer
RHP, 2-3, 2.11
Josh Collmenter
RHP, 3-3, 3.40
Denard Span - CF Ender Inciarte - RF
Yunel Escobar - 3B A.J. Pollock - CF
Jayson Werth - RF Paul Goldschmidt - 1B
Bryce Harper - LF David Peralta - LF
Ryan Zimmerman - 1B Yasmany Tomas - 3B
Wilson Ramos - C Aaron Hill - 2B
Ian Desmond - SS Chris Owings - SS
Danny Espinosa - 2B Tuffy Gosewisch - C
Max Scherzer - RHP Josh Collmenter - RHP

Stop me if you've heard this before: we need a good outing from Josh Collmenter tonight, to save a taxed bullpen. Yeah, it's one of those outings, after the bullpen worked all nine innings of last night's game against the Padres. At least it didn't go into extra innings, which would have been the nightmare scenario for us, especially if we ended up losing the game. But it's still 14 innings worked by our relievers over the weekend, and the fresh arm provided by Vidal Nuno, will certainly be welcome, with both Daniel Hudson and J.C. Ramirez in "pitcher of last resort" status for this evening.

It'll be fun to see Scherzer again. Unlike, say, Jarrod Parker, who made precisely one start for the Diamondbacks, and was then gone, and so didn't make much of an impression, we got to see Scherzer for a full season and a half before his trade to the Tigers in a three-way deal which got us Ian Kennedy. After three years where he was a bit up and down, he broke through in 2013, and since then has been one of the best pitchers in the majors. His ERA+ of 138 since the start of 2013 is surpassed by only a handful of pitchers (min 300 IP), and it needs to be, given the seven-year, $210 million contract he signed with Washington this winter.

So, yeah: it's not gonna be easy for the Diamondbacks' hitters this series, though arguably they are getting the worst out of the way first. For our pitchers, as Nate noted in the preview, Bryce Harper has been a one-man wrecking crew on the opposition over the past week - to my extreme delight, having had him on my fantasy team. But if he were to cool off for the next three days, I wouldn't mind. I sense a lot of very careful pitching, and an easy label of Harper as "The guy we don't let beat us," since he's as far above the rest of the Washington offense, as Goldschmidt is above the rest of Arizona;s.