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“He’s got big-league stuff,” Harper said of Howard. “Everybody knows that. It’s just trying to hone it in, calm it down a little bit. He’s going to be just fine for us. We’re very excited about what we’ve seen. He just has to get comfortable and have some fun. Enjoy his time. He’s a guy that’s going to be a dude for us.”

The Nationals will send their ace, Max Scherzer, to the mound to try to avoid a fourth straight loss.

Scherzer (2-1, 4.31 ERA) was 2-1 with a 2.50 ERA in three starts against the Phillies last season. In his stellar career, Scherzer is 11-3 with a 2.62 ERA in 20 starts against Philadelphia.

Last Saturday, Scherzer struggled a bit in allowing seven hits and four runs in 4 2/3 innings against the Miami Marlins.

“I believe that I can pitch in tough spots in the game,” Scherzer said. “Even late in the game, even when my pitch count is over 100, I still believe I can execute in those situations. Unfortunately, the last couple of games, I haven’t done that and I need to get better at that.”

When Scherzer is clicking, he’s able to locate his arsenal of pitches with pinpoint control. Over the past two outings, he simply hasn’t been as precise.

“There were a couple batters I had some bad locations and another couple times I didn’t hit my spot,” Scherzer said after his last outing. “They were able to just get a hit and were able to extend the inning. Then when it got down to really needing to get an out … I just wasn’t able to get the job done. I wasn’t able to locate.”

In Washington’s Wednesday loss, Juan Soto hit his eighth home run of the season, a solo shot to the opposite field in left.

–Field Level Media