Following his second no-hitter of the season in 2015, Max Scherzer talked to reporters about when it was that he started to think he had something special going in a start.
For a pitcher who, after five scoreless and hitless this afternoon in Miami, had taken a no-hit bid into the sixth 11 times in 82 starts for the Nationals, it was something he’d had plenty of opportunities to think about during his time in Washington’s rotation.
“When you go through the order one time through you know you've got something going,” Scherzer explained.
“When you go through the lineup two times through then you know you've got a real shot. That's kind of my kind of threshold of when you know that you have something going. After you get through six, you know you have a shot and [know] that if you can get through seven then you can really empty the tanks in the eighth, and then give everything you've got in the ninth.”
"Once I was able to get through the seventh, I knew, 'Okay, here we go, we've got a real shot at this.’”
Scherzer was at 98 pitches after seven scoreless and hitless against the Fish today, with a 1-0 lead and 17-straight batters retired after a one-out hit-by-pitch on Derek Dietrich in the second.
He’d also reached double-digits in strikeouts for the sixth straight start with his 10th from Christian Yelich in the first at bat of the seventh, and Scherzer retired the side in order to give himself 17-straight outs and seven scoreless and hitless.
His no-hit bid ended with one out in the eighth, however, on a grounder back to the mound by A.J. Ellis that bounced off the tip of Scherzer’s outstretched glove for an infield single, and his shutout bid ended on a wild pitch on a max-effort fastball (pun intended) to Giancarlo Stanton that sailed over Jose Lobaton’s mitt and went to the backstop, 1-1.
Stanton lined an RBI single to left later in the at bat and the Marlins all of a sudden led, 2-1... and that’s how it ended.
Max Scherzer’s Line: 8.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 11 Ks, 121 P, 85 S, 10/2 GO/FO.
Nationals now 43-29
HERE’S HOW IT HAPPENED:
• Max Scherzer struck out the first six batters he retired this afternoon in Miami, leaving him four Ks away from double-digit strikeouts in his sixth straight start.
• Scherzer threw a wipeout 0-2 slider by a helpless Dee Gordon for his seventh K of the game in the third, on the way to a 12-pitch, 1-2-3 frame that left him at 50 pitches.
• Justin Bour was strikeout victim No. 8, when he went down swinging at a brutal 2-2 slider inside for out No. 3 of Scherzer’s fourth scoreless frame in what was still a 0-0 game.
• Ryan Raburn got the Nats on the board in the fifth, when he hit a 1-0 change from Dan Straily out to left for a towering, two-out, solo home run that put the Nationals ahead, 1-0.
If it's fair, it's gone.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) June 21, 2017
(Spoiler alert! It's fair.) pic.twitter.com/MgnS6S8uv4
• Scherzer retired the Marlins in order in the fifth, on three ground balls, finishing an eight-pitch frame at 72 total after five scoreless and hitless innings.
• Dan Straily was done for the day after retiring the Nationals in order in the top of the sixth.
• Dan Straily’s Line: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 Ks, 1 HR, 98 P, 60 S, 6/2 GO/FO.
• Max Scherzer was up to 12-straight batters set down after pinch hitter Ichiro Suzuki grounded out to second to start the Marlins’ sixth. Dee Gordon’s groundout to second made it 13-straight, and Giancarlo Stanton’s swinging K made it 14 batters in a row set down and nine strikeouts in six scoreless and hitless by Scherzer.
• A 13-pitch, 1-2-3 seventh gave Scherzer 17-straight outs and seven scoreless and hitless on 98 pitches.
• Scherzer was up to 18-straight outs with one down in the eighth when A.J. Ellis hit a high chopper back to the mound that bounced off the tip of Scherzer’s outstretched glove and died on the infield grass for a no-hitter-ruining single.
• The Marlins loaded the bases with Ellis’s single, an error by Turner on a throw to first and a hit-by-pitch on Dee Gordon. Giancarlo Stanton stepped in with a chance to ruin the afternoon for Scherzer and the Nats and a wild pitch on a 1-2 heater brought the tying run in before Stanton hit a 2-2 fastball to left for a go-ahead RBI single, 2-1.
WHICH ONE OF YOU MONSTERS IGNORED THE SIGN!? pic.twitter.com/rWqjUiFnk7— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) June 21, 2017
• Max Scherzer’s Line: 8.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 11 Ks, 121 P, 85 S, 10/2 GO/FO.
• A.J. Ramos took the mound with a one-run lead and worked around a two-out single for a scoreless frame and the save.
NATIONALS PREGAME NOTES:
- After Washington’s win last night, the Nationals are 106-118 in the all-time series with Miami, though the Nationals have a 50-31 record against the Marlins since 2013 before today’s series finale.
- Before today, the Nationals were 4-3 in rubber matches this season.
- Washington’s 25-14 road record heading into today’s finale in Miami was the second-best in the NL, behind only the Colorado Rockies (25-13).
- The Nationals’ 43-28 record was the fourth-best in the NL, behind the Diamondbacks (44-27), Dodgers (46-26) and Rockies (47-26).
- Bryce Harper extended his career-high single season hit streak to 13 games last night, improving to 17 for 54 (.315 AVG) with three doubles and three home runs over the 13 games.
- In today’s Nationals-themed “Fun with Arbitrary End Points” segment: Daniel Murphy is hitting .409 (36 for 88) with eight doubles, a triple, and three home runs... in the last 21 games going back to May 29th.
- Marlins’ starter Dan Straily started the day with the seventh-lowest BAA (.215) among NL starters, and the fifth-lowest BAA at home (.184)
- Washington’s offense started the day leading the NL in AVG (.276), OBP (.340), SLG (.474), home runs (109), extra-base hits (267), runs scored (397), hits (692), and RBIs (389).
Nationals now 43-29