Over the course of the eight-start unbeaten streak that Max Scherzer took into Friday’s game in Miami, the Washington Nationals’ ace was (6-0) with the Nationals’ 7-1 in his outings.
In 54 2⁄3 innings pitched over that stretch, the 33-year-old righty put up a 1.81 ERA, 13 walks, 87 Ks, and a .153/.218/.300 line against.
In three starts heading into the series opener in Marlins Park, Scherzer was on fire, piling up 39 Ks in 20 1⁄3 innings (17.55 K/9), with just five walks and four earned runs allowed over that stretch.
Scherzer gave up four runs in six innings in the series opener with the Marlins, a season-high, and seven hits total, also the most he’s allowed in a start this season.
He got off to a good start, holding the Marlins to two hits (both by Martin Prado) in the first three innings, but an infield single by Starling Castro and hit-by-pitch on right fielder Brian Anderson in the Fish fourth set Miguel Rojas up with an RBI opportunity he cashed in on a, two-out, two-strike, two-run single that tied things up at 2-2 after Nationals’ center fielder Michael A. Taylor homered to give the visiting team an early lead.
Matt Adams made it a 4-2 game with a two-run blast in the top of the sixth, but Scherzer put the leadoff runner (Anderson) on with a leadoff walk in the bottom of the inning, and missed his spot on a 2-2 cutter to Derek Dietrich that ended up in the second deck in right field for a game-tying two-run home run, 4-4.
Scherzer was up to 110 pitches when Martin Prado (3 for 3 on the night; 16 for 34 career vs Scherzer) reached base on an E:6 on Trea Turner, and the Nationals’ starter having to throw 32 pitches overall in the sixth inning, which left him at 114 total on the night, after he got a fly to center from J.T. Realmuto, stranding two runners to keep it tied.
That was it for Scherzer in his 11th start of 2018. He took the mound with a 1.78 ERA on the season and left it with a 2.13 ERA.
“He battled through,” Davey Martinez told reporters after Scherzer earned the win and took his unbeaten streak to nine straight outings.
“Tried to get through that sixth inning, but I had a feeling that that was it for him. We have this thing, so I know when he’s done, and he was done then.”
“I felt they had a good approach against me,” Scherzer said, as quoted by MASN’s Byron Kerr.
“I could tell that they were really gunning to take away some of the things I could do and that’s what happens when you face divisional opponents. They’ve seen you before. They know what to take away. And that’s where I tip my hat.”
“I’ve seen better from him,” Martinez added. “I really have. And he knows it.
“But you know what, he gave us six strong innings. He really did. He battled in the fifth and sixth innings, especially the sixth inning, and he got the big out when we needed it.”