A walk, wild pitch and RBI double put Max Scherzer behind early in his last start before Tuesday night’s, in what ended up a 6-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in D.C.
Scherzer threw a total of three wild pitches over six innings in that outing, giving up four hits, two walks and three runs, one of them earned, in what was his second start of the 2017 campaign.
His three wild pitches in that outing were one more than Scherzer threw over 228 1⁄3 innings pitched last season.
Nats’ skipper Dusty Baker was asked if he attributed that to Scherzer and new catcher Matt Wieters still getting to know one another early in their first season together.
“That’s attributed to Max throwing 58 footers,” Baker sort-of joked.
Told that catcher Matt Wieters took some of the blame for the wild pitches, Baker laughed.
“Yeah, well that’s noble,” he said.
While those wild pitches hurt, Scherzer still put together a solid start against St. Louis.
“Scherzer finished strong,” Baker said.
“He finished very strong. He was spiking his slider, you know what I mean, which usually he doesn’t do and evidently he didn’t have a very good feel for that slider, because one was — a run was scored on a wild pitch, in the first inning he was headed for a 10-12-pitch first inning and then the walk to [Matt] Carpenter and the wild pitch and then the [double] to Stephen Piscotty.”
Scherzer started strong against Atlanta in the series opener with the Braves last night in start No. 3 of his 2017 campaign, but he ran into trouble in the fourth after issuing a leadoff walk to Freddie Freeman.
Nick Markakis hit a broken-bat single to center in the next at bat, but Brandon Phillips hit into a force at second for out No. 1 and Adonis Garcia sent a grounder to short to start an inning-ending 6-4-3.
Scherzer took the mound in the fifth with a 2-0 lead, courtesy of RBI singles by Wilmer Difo and Adam Eaton, and retired the Braves in order in a 10-pitch frame.
A few full counts and a two-out walk pushed Scherzer up to 25 pitches in the sixth, but he completed another scoreless frame at 101 pitches total.
Hecame back out for the seventh and retired the side in order, striking out two in a 15-pitch frame that left him at seven Ks and 116 pitches.
Max Scherzer’s Line: 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 7 Ks, 116 P, 76 S, 7/5 GO/FO.
Baker told reporters after the 3-1 win over the Braves that Scherzer told him he was capable of going back out for the seventh in spite of the pitch count getting high.
“Max wanted to go out there in the seventh,” Baker said.
“He knows that we’ve been struggling some in the bullpen. And he said, ‘Man, I’ve got 110 pitches or more in me,’ and I said, ‘Well, you’re at 103 right now,’ so he said, ‘I promise you that I’ve got some more.’”
“When you see a guy like Max giving all he has, and especially after we’ve scored a couple, he’s always telling our other pitchers, ‘It’s a shutdown inning,’ so he went out and showed them how to shut down after you get a couple runs. What I like most about him is just his sheer drive and determination to compete and to win.”