It started so innocently.
So, so innocently. With runners on first and third, two strikes, and one out, Max Scherzer showed bunt.
Then, he pulled the bat back, and swung at an 82 MPH cutter from Marlins starter Chris O’Grady, parking it deep in the left field seats of the ever-capacious Marlins Park.
It was a moment of jubilee in the Nats dugout and fanbase alike, although most agreed he would never stop talking of his blast, ever. (No-hitter? Meh. Three-run home run? Now we’re talking.)
We'll never hear the end of it...— Adam Eaton (@AdamSpankyEaton) August 1, 2017
You think I'm kidding.. he'll be reminding us hitters of that for years to come.. #seehittingiseasy— Adam Eaton (@AdamSpankyEaton) August 1, 2017
STFU!!! No way did that just happen!! Gonna hear about this for the rest of our lives now!!!!— Erica May-Scherzer (@emaysway) August 1, 2017
That moment you realize you hit your first MLB homerun #Nats @Max_Scherzer pic.twitter.com/2JJQUXwyOK— InsideThaDugout (@InsideThaDugout) August 1, 2017
Scherzer hits first career homer, gets silent treatment pic.twitter.com/sj5tBfJSSp— Dan Steinberg (@dcsportsbog) August 1, 2017
Then, once he was settled back into the dugout, Scherzer began to express a little pain, grimacing before heading down the steps to the clubhouse.
Max Scherzer grimacing in the dugout after his home run before he took himself out of the game. #Nats pic.twitter.com/CROihtCDkf— Jake Russell (@_JakeRussell) August 1, 2017
The majority of the focus still remained on the home run as Scherzer disappeared into the clubhouse — at least, until he took the hill for his warmup tosses in the second inning.
After just one toss, which missed Matt Wieters by quite a bit, Scherzer gestured to the dugout, telling his manager Dusty Baker that he couldn’t continue to pitch.
And just like that, Max Scherzer exits the game. pic.twitter.com/WgAa0T0s0L— Barno (@DCBarno) August 1, 2017
Scherzer calls it there. Not sure what's going on. pic.twitter.com/I0nLGPapRl— The Blue Ravine (@TheBlueRavine) August 1, 2017
this entire scherzer situation pic.twitter.com/bLJkW1l6h3— Hannah (@hbro36) August 1, 2017
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO— JWerth's Beard (@JWerthsBeard) August 1, 2017
Now comes the strange part: Ninety nine times out of one hundred, the Nats, even if someone quite clearly broke their leg or scabbed their knee, will refrain from informing the press about the details of any in-game injury.
Of course, Scherzer is not one of those ninety nine guys, because, y’know, he’s Max Scherzer.
Per #Nats spokesperson: Scherzer had a neck spasm, said he "slept on it funny." Came out of the game as a precaution.— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) August 2, 2017
Granted, it’s probably hard to hit a home run if your dominant arm is in need of amputation, so anything super serious was almost immediately ruled out.
Or, y’know, as the former FBB stalwart Dave Nichols put it:
slept on it funny = tweaked it during celebration— Dave Nichols SR (@DNicholsSR) August 2, 2017