It's not even like you can say Max Scherzer just made one mistake. The pitch Mets' left fielder Michael Cuddyer hit out for the only run Scherzer allowed in seven innings on the mound was a 94 mph 0-1 fastball not quite outside that went out to right-center over the 380 ft sign on the moved-in wall in Citi Field for a solo blast.
"Cuddyer? I mean, I'm not going to beat myself over that pitch," Scherzer said after the Washington Nationals' 4-0 loss in New York, "but I left it over the middle and he put a good swing on it and was able to do damage on it."
"The ball Cuddyer hit was a pretty good pitch too," Nats' skipper Matt Williams said. "Michael is a good hitter and he got that one elevated a little bit to the outfield. But it wasn't a bad pitch."
"My mistakes were actually earlier in the game," Scherzer explained. "Actually, Michael Taylor was able to run down some of my mistakes, and Bryce Harper made a great play out there, and to be able to keep that game at a 1-0 clip, to be able to throw [Curtis] Granderson out at the plate... the defense played great. I thought I did some things well on the mound tonight, it's just a tough-luck loss."
The play at the plate Scherzer referenced came in the fifth after Granderson doubled to left field and slid in safe at second, knocking the ball out of Dan Uggla's glove as he slid in after a one-hop throw to the bag by Jayson Werth.
Juan Lagares singled to right in the next at bat, Harper came up throwing when Granderson tried to score and tthe Nats' right fielder nailed him at the plate for outfield assist no. 3 of 2015.
Good as the Nationals' defense was (early in the game), Mets' starter Matt Harvey shut Nats' hitters down in the second game of the four-game set in Citi Field.
Harvey went seven innings without allowing a run, for thirteen scoreless vs the Mets' NL East rivals this year between last night and his first outing vs the Nats in D.C. on April 9th, sixteen scoreles vs Washington since the Nationals scored a run with him on the mound and twenty-three since he allowed the Nationals to score an earned run on him back in late June of 2013.
"Matt Harvey takes these games to heart," Terry Collins said after his team snapped a three-game losing streak.
"It's not just Max Scherzer. The Nationals are the team we've got to play, we've got to play better and he takes that as a challenge."
Both Scherzer and Williams said they impressed with Harvey.
"He's a great pitcher," Scherzer told reporters.
"You want to face those guys. You want to beat those guys, unfortunately we came out on the wrong side tonight. But you've got to bring your 'A' game in this situation, I just got beat on a couple pitches tonight and you just lick your wounds and get ready for your next start."
"He was able to feel the curveball, threw a few of those strikes," Williams said.
"Elevated fastballs when he needed to, like I said though, we had some chances against him and we know he's on a pitch count so we had some good at bats and just that one swing of the bat we just didn't have tonight.
"We had some chances, we had a couple, three of them, but he made the pitches when he needed to. Didn't happen for us tonight."
The good news for Scherzer, in addition to his ten strikeouts, was that after missing a start with a right thumb issue, he felt no discomfort, throwing 96 pitches total before he was done for the night.
"Everything felt fine coming out of my hand," Scherzer said. "I was on 100%, so I had no lingering effects of the thumb injury."
Harvey outlasted the Nats' starter tonight, but as Matt Williams said, it could have gone either way.
"Well, you never know, you never know what might change it. One swing of the bat could."
It was Michael Cuddyer's swing that made the difference Friday night.