OPENING DAY ACE: Washington Nationals’ manager Davey Martinez made the official announcement that Max Scherzer will be the Nats’ Opening Day starter this morning, though he told reporters in Florida that he made the decision, “the day I got the job.”
“He’s a competitor, comes to compete every day,” Martinez said, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, when asked about giving Scherzer the nod.
“He’s that guy. What I’ve learned so far, he’s a leader. He wants to win, every day. Every five days he wants the ball. As you guys know, he doesn’t like giving the manager the ball in any games. But I love him. He comes out and he’s fired up every time he goes out to pitch.”
Coming off a (16-6) season in 32 starts in 2017, which saw him post a 2.51 ERA, 2.90 FIP, 55 walks (2.47 BB/9), 268 Ks (12.02 K/9), and a .177/.247/.319 line against in 200 2⁄3 IP and win a second straight NL Cy Young award, Scherzer was off to a strong start this Spring as well, with just two earned runs allowed (both on solo homers) in four starts and 14 IP over which he’d walked two and struck out 21 while holding opposing hitters to a .067 BAA.
Things didn’t go well from the start this afternoon, however, as Scherzer gave up a leadoff triple and sac fly in the bottom of the first, 1-0, then allowed a leadoff home run in the Fish second, 2-0, three-run home run in the third, 5-0, and a two-out solo shot in the fourth, 6-1. He was done for the day, after a 1-2-3 fifth, having thrown 90 pitches.
Max Scherzer’s Line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 6 Ks, 3 HRs, 1/5 GO/FO.
Scherzer said he actually wasn’t upset to get beat up some today. Thinks he learns more from a start like this. Only thing he’s mad about: “Walking the pitcher.”— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) March 19, 2018
Shawn Kelley gave up two home runs in one inning in the seventh as the Marlins jumped out to a 9-1 lead.
Positives: Washington’s lone run through seven innings came on an RBI single by Moises Sierra in the fourth. Adam Eaton was 2 for 2 with a walk. Anthony Rendon went 2 for 3 in the loss, scoring on the Sierra single.
Final Score: 9-1 Marlins