Through five Grapefruit League outings and 20 innings pitched this Spring, Washington Nationals' righty Max Scherzer has allowed 15 hits, a walk and three earned runs (1.35 ERA).
The 30-year-old, seven-year veteran has recorded 23 Ks while holding opposing hitters to a combined .205 BAA.
Nine of those strikeouts came in yesterday's game, as Scherzer held the St. Louis Cardinals scoreless over six innings on the mound in Jupiter, Florida's Roger Dean Stadium.
Nats' skipper Matt Williams told reporters after the game, a 1-0 loss, that he liked what he saw from the right-hander who was named the Nationals' Opening Day starter earlier this week.
"'He threw really well,'" Williams said, as quoted by Washington Post beat writer James Wagner. "'Great breaking balls. Fastballs where he wanted it. It’s good.'"
Scherzer threw a total 82 pitches over his six innings on the mound, allowing just three hits.
"'I felt like I did a good job of generating swings and misses with all my pitches,'" Scherzer said.
"'But more importantly I didn't walk anybody. I was pounding the zone.'"
The reviews on Scherzer's latest outing were positive across the board:
• "Scherzer’s overall line so far: 20 innings, 1.35 ERA, 23 strikeouts, one walk and a .205 opponents’ batting average." - "Max Scherzer strikes out nine Cardinals, continuing strong spring play" - James Wagner, The Washington Post
• "Scherzer felt he did a good job generating swings and misses with all of his pitches." - "Scherzer able to work out of jam in dominant start" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com
• "The Nationals’ new ace still has one more exhibition start to make, but Wednesday he showed everything you’d want to see in a final tune-up before the games actually count." - "Scherzer dominates Cardinals’ "A" lineup, striking out 9 in 6 innings" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider
• "Williams appreciated how Scherzer performed against the Cardinals' top bats." - "Nationals Pastime: Scherzer dominantly backs up Williams' opening day call" - Chris Johnson, MASNSports.com
• "With a strikeout of Scherzer to end the second inning, Wacha quelled the only serious threat Washington put up against him." - "Scherzer piles up K's before Nationals edged late" - Bill Ladson and Jenifer Langosch, nationals.com
Stephen Strasburg is apparently okay with Scherzer on Opening Day:
• "Strasburg isn’t one to seek the spotlight — in fact, he shies from it — but he has always said he considers opening day something you tell your kids stories about later in life." - "Stephen Strasburg on Max Scherzer getting opening day start" - James Wagner, The Washington Post
Stephen Strasburg, who has started the past three Nats opening days, on Max Scherzer starting opening day this year: http://t.co/ZeLXcWjAh3— James Wagner (@JamesWagnerWP) March 25, 2015
Anthony Rendon's left knee updates:
• "Manager Matt Williams said Wednesday that a second MRI exam of Rendon’s knee taken Tuesday showed healing and no structural damage." - "Anthony Rendon undergoes second MRI on knee, opening day status ‘in jeopardy’" - James Wagner, The Washington Post
• "Williams said there’s no set number of spring training at-bats Rendon would need to be deemed ready, but he does need more than a mere handful." - "Rendon has 2nd MRI on knee, unlikely to be ready for season opener" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider
• "The Mets come to Nationals Park in just 13 days for the official start of the 2015 season. Williams' optimism for Rendon's availability is fading quickly." - "Nationals Pastime: After Rendon's second MRI, Williams says opening day is 'in jeopardy'" - Chris Johnson, MASNSports.com
Rendon had a second MRI yesterday. It didn't reveal any further damage to his sprained left MCL. #Nats— Chris Johnson (@masnCJ) March 25, 2015
• "There is a possibility that Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon may not be ready for Opening Day, according to manager Matt Williams." - "Knee sprain hurting Rendon's chances for opener" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com
White seats in the outfield?:
• "Beginning in the late 1960s, the Senators marked the landing spots of slugger Frank Howard’s longest home runs at RFK by painting the seats white." - "Nats will mark historic home runs at Nationals Park with painted seats" - Scott Allen, The Washington Post
Senators used to mark Frank Howard's upper deck HRs at RFK. Here's one of his white-seat HRs from 1970 pic.twitter.com/RQL8kb8w9f— Scott Allen (@ScottSAllen) March 25, 2015
NATS BEAT: Harper's comments; Zim Year 10; Willll-son; Injury issues
• "General manager Mike Rizzo has assembled the National League's best and deepest roster." - "Nationals equipped to survive early injury test" - Richard Justice, nationals.com
• "If Rendon is not ready for Opening Day on April 6 against the Mets, Stewart will be considered a candidate to start at third base." - "Stewart playing his way into valuable role" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com
• "Ramos is vital to the success of the Nats, who are built around a potentially historic rotation." - "Nationals Pastime: Gonzalez: Ramos 'determined to lead this rotation to where it needs to be'" - Chris Johnson, MASNSports.com
•"'I think the organization and myself have grown a lot, but I wouldn't change anything I've done one way or the other,' Zimmerman said." - "Zimmerman remains driven in 10th season with Nats" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com
• "Maybe I’ve been hurt the past two years and haven’t lived up to everything people think I should live up to." - Bryce Harper -"Bryce Harper really doesn’t care if his comments tick people off" - Scott Allen, The Washington Post
NATIONAL(S) BEAT: Shifts; Opening Day starter; National Rendon story
• "The AP story has Williams citing 'lots of reasons' for choosing Scherzer, although doesn't really elaborate on the reasons." - "Who should start the Washington Nationals' opener?" - David Schoenfield, ESPN
• "According to Baseball Info Solutions (BIS), major league teams employed the shift 13,296 times last season — an increase of nearly 63% over the number of shifts in 2013." - "The shift: 'Days of complete resistance are over'" - Steve Gardner, USA TODAY Sports
• "If the Nationals place Rendon on the disabled list, he'll miss Opening Day against the New York Mets on April 6. But the Nationals can backdate the assignment to March 27..." - "Anthony Rendon of Washington Nationals questionable for Opening Day" - Jerry Crasnick, ESPN
• "Former All-Star player Matt Williams, who now manages the Washington Nationals, said Louisville Slugger bats were popular among players of his generation." - "Maker of Louisville Slugger bats selling brand to Wilson" - Petoskey News-Review: Business
NATIONALS' ST HOME NEWS + NATS MINORS:
• "The 19-year-old Reetz is from Hickman, Neb., (population 1,657) and is showing a power bat in spring training as he did last season for the Gulf Coast League Nats." - "Nationals early camp capsule: Jakson Reetz and Jorge Tillero" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com
• "This is the seventh season that the Syracuse Chiefs have been affiliated with the Washington Nationals." - "Syracuse Chiefs have been part of baseball's best system the past 5 years (commentary)" - Lindsay Kramer, syracuse.com
• "A legislative subcommittee has pushed forward approval that paves the way for construction on a new $135 million spring training stadium in Palm Beach County." - "Fans cheer for potential new Spring Training stadium" - Greg Angel, WPEC-TV CBS12
• "A bill that would free up 24 acres for the West Palm Beach baseball project passed its first hurdle this morning in the state legislature." - "WPB water bill, needed for baseball site, passes first hurdle" - Joe Capozzi, www.palmbeachpost.com
NL EAST UPDATES: Phils' 5th starter; Mets' rotation; Braves' policeman; Fish bench
• Mets: "Some in the Mets organization still considering Rafael Montero a contender to make the starting rotation over Dillon Gee." - "Rafael Montero could make Mets even if he's not in rotation" - Andy Martino, NY Daily News
• Phillies: "The reality, at least for the near future, is the Phillies do not need a fifth starter until April 12, a week from Easter Sunday." - "Phillies’ fifth starter still a mystery" - Ryan Lawrence, Philadelphia Daily News
• Marlins: "Perhaps the biggest task facing Miami's front office and coaching staff, then, is deciding how to fill out the club's bench." - "Marlins close to making tough decision on bench" - Adam Berry, marlins.com
• Braves: "Recognizing that manager Fredi Gonzalez has countless other responsibilities, Markakis told his new skipper that he would take care of policing the clubhouse." - "Follow the leaders: Braves value veterans' presence" - Mark Bowman, braves.com