WASHINGTON -- It will be a study in contrasts when the Washington Nationals, who clinched the National League East title on Sunday, host the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday.
Washington right-hander Max Scherzer (14-5, 2.32) will make the 293rd start of his career. He will be opposed by Braves rookie Luiz Gohara (0-1, 13.50), who will make his second major league start and oppose the Nationals for the first time.
Gohara had not pitched above the Class A level until this season. He was acquired by the Braves in a trade with the Seattle Mariners in January and pitched at three different minor league levels this year.
The native of Brazil made his major league debut on Sept. 6 against the Texas Rangers and was saddled with the loss. He allowed six runs on four hits with four walks and six strikeouts in four innings.
What does Braves manager Brian Snitker expect on Wednesday from one of his young pitchers?
"I have not seen him enough. If he gets (his pitches) over, he has a pretty good chance," Snitker said Tuesday of Gohara. "He's got a legitimate breaking ball. If he commands it, he has a chance to be successful against anybody he faces."
Braves right-hander Mike Foltynewicz, slated to face the Nationals (88-56) on Thursday, sees the potential in Gohara.
"I talked to him a little bit," Foltynewicz said Tuesday of Gohara. "He said he never had that experience being out there on a big league mound in that stage since he never had a spring training invite. I just think he was a little nervous that day (against Texas), so he was a little over the place.
"He has great off-speed stuff. He carries himself well. He has the body for pitching. He just has to put it all together."
Gohara will be matched up against one of the best in the game in Scherzer, who will be making his 28th start of the year.
The 33-year-old veteran has made at least 30 starts in each season since 2009, when he played for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Scherzer is 6-4 with a 3.59 ERA in his career against the Braves in 15 games, 13 of them starts. He was 4-0 against Atlanta in 2016.
This year he has been part of a team that has been hit by injuries but has benefitted from a deep 40-man roster.
"You talk about what (center fielder) Michael Taylor's done for this ballclub," Scherzer said after the Nationals clinched the division Sunday. "You talk about what (Wilmer) Difo's done for this ballclub. When we signed Edwin Jackson, he came over here. Just different guys that every time somebody got their number called, they answered it and they performed at a high level. And that's the reason why we played so consistently throughout this year and we were able to build such a lead."
Scherzer has playoff experience with the Detroit Tigers and last year with the Nationals.
"It's great. Now, we're going to October," Scherzer said. "We know we're going to October, we know we're going to be a good team going into October, and that's all that matters."
The Braves (65-78) won the series opener 8-0 on Tuesday behind Julio Teheran, who threw seven shutout innings.