When he spoke to reporters in the media room at Nationals Park following his no-hitter against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Max Scherzer was asked how the Washington Nationals have become "his team" so quickly in his first season in the nation's capital? Scherzer dismissed the idea.
"That's your opinion," he said. "I just think it's just 25 guys in the clubhouse having fun together. Nothing more than that."
What a leader-y thing to say, right?
Nats' skipper Matt Williams was asked a similarly-phrased question about the impact Scherzer has had on his new team in the first few months of the 7-year/$210M deal he signed with the Nationals this winter, and as Williams explained it, in an MLB Network Radio interview this morning, Scherzer leads by example on and off the field.
"He's light-hearted except for the day he pitches, and that being said," Williams said, "I think he's also -- talking to the starters about what we accomplish as a team, as a starting staff, he certainly leads by example, we've seen that. And so I think he just loves to play. We saw [in] Max's last outing, he pitches great, but he gets a base hit, and then a ball goes in the dirt and he's ready to advance to second on the ball that gets away from the catcher. He's a baseball player. Yeah, he's a pitcher and he pitches for us, but he also does other things on the field that help us win too. I think he's been a fantastic addition not only because he's a great pitcher but what he brings to the clubhouse as well."
Not to mention what he's accomplished at the plate this season. Don't laugh.
Scherzer takes his hitting very seriously and thus far this season, after five seasons of limited at bats as an American League starter, the 30-year-old right-hander is 9 for 35 at the plate and in the midst of a six-game hit streak.
On the year, he has a .257/.257/.257 line... and he might actually be getting carried away with the whole hitting thing even though it's clearly not taking away from his preparation on the mound.
As Williams told the MLB Network Radio hosts Jeff Joyce and Todd Hollandsworth this morning, Scherzer has been subtly lobbying for pinch hit at bats.
"Max is fun-loving on the four days he doesn't get a chance to play," Williams said.
"He's constantly in my ear about getting pinch hit opportunities. I receive, on occasion, a sheet on my desk from him that lets me know what his career numbers offensively are against a certain guy. But you know it's fun."
Say it with me, "Let. Max. Hit. Let. Max. Hit."
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