Max Scherzer came out on the losing end of a pitchers’ duel with Toronto Blue Jays’ right-hander Marco Estrada, giving up two runs (both of them on a homer by Devin Travis) and not much else in a six-inning start in what ended up a 2-0 loss for Washington’s Nationals, who dropped their second straight in the Rogers Centre and third of four games on their current road trip.
Scherzer vs Blue Jays: Brandon Crawford accounted for three of the Giants’ four hits off of Max Scherzer in his last start before this afternoon’s, and both of the runs that scored while the Nationals’ ace was on the mound in a 2-0 loss to San Francisco at home in Washington, D.C., which came on a two-run home run.
The loss for Scherzer was his first since his April 4th, ending an eleven-start unbeaten streak over which the back-to-back defending NL Cy Young winner was unbeaten at (9-0) with the Nationals 10-1 in his outings over that stretch.
He left the mound in the nation’s capital with a 2.00 ERA, a 1.87 FIP, 22 walks (2.09 BB/9), 142 Ks (13.50 K/9), and a .171/.230/.312 line against in 94 2⁄3 IP this season.
This afternoon in Toronto’s Rogers Centre, Scherzer retired the first eight batters he faced before back-to-back, two-out singles by Devon Travis and Curtis Granderson, though both runners were stranded when the Nationals’ ace struck Justin Smoak out for his sixth K from his first 11 batters he faced.
Scherzer picked up his seventh K as he worked around a one-out walk in a 19-pitch fourth, but a one-out hit-by-pitch in the fifth was followed by a two-run home run to left by Devon Travis, who got all of a hanging 0-1 slider inside and took it for a ride, 2-0 Blue Jays.
A 22-pitch sixth, in which he picked up his 9th and 10th Ks, ended Scherzer’s outing after a total of 108 pitches.
Max Scherzer’s Line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 10 Ks, 1 HR, 108 P, 75 S, 4/1 GO/FO.
Max Scherzer threw 75 strikes out of 108 pitches today. He had one walk and 10 K's. Typical Scherzer. Except: Look at all the borderline pitches he *didn't* get. And he still had that line! He is good. pic.twitter.com/rTuO93QXjt— David Adler (@_dadler) June 16, 2018
Estrada vs the Nationals: An ‘05 6th Round pick by the Nationals, Marco Estrada debut in the majors with Washington in August of ‘08, and pitched for the Nats in ‘09 before being selected off waivers by the Milwaukee Brewers in February of 2010.
Traded to Toronto four years later, the right-hander has pitched for the Blue Jays since, and he took the mound this afternoon (3-6) in 13 starts so far in 2018, with a 5.09 ERA, a 4.81 FIP, 18 walks (2.29 BB/9), 57 Ks (7.26 K/9), and a .280/.323/.536 line against in 70 2⁄3 IP.
Estrada was efficient early in his start against the Nationals today, holding Nats’ hitters to a hit in four scoreless innings in which he threw 56 pitches, and he retired the side in the top of the fifth, in a 14-pitch frame that left him at 70 total with 10-straight batters set down.
Given a 2-0 lead to work with after five, Estrada was up to 12-straights outs before a two-out double to left-center by Trea Turner, but the Nationals’ first baserunner since the top of the second was stranded when Bryce Harper K’d looking to end a 15-pitch frame.
Anthony Rendon walked for the second time today to lead off the seventh, and two outs later, Michael A. Taylor singled to center on a 2-2 fastball which ended up being Estrada’s final pitch...
Marco Estrada’s Line: 6.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 Ks, 109 P, 76 S, 5/4 GO/FO.
Road Warriors: Heading into today’s game, Davey Martinez’s Nationals had won 12 of their last 20 games, and going back to April 29, the Nationals’ (26-13) record was the best in the National League and third-best mark in Major League Baseball, behind only the NY Yankees (28-11) and Seattle Mariners (30-14).
After losing two of the first three games on the current road trip, the Nationals’ 22-13 road record was the best in the National League and the fifth-best in Major League Baseball.
[ed. note - “This is like totally filler info since the Nationals didn’t do much of anything worth noting on offense vs Blue Jays’ righty Marco Estrada.”]
BULLPEN ACTION: Danny Barnes took over for the Blue Jays in the Nationals’ seventh, after a leadoff walk and two-out single off put two on and knocked starter Marco Estrada out, and a groundout by Wilmer Difo ended the top of the inning.
Wander Suero took over for the Nationals in the bottom of the seventh inning, and retired the side in order in a 14-pitch frame.
Barnes got the first out of the Nats’ eighth, and Blue Jays’ lefty Aaron Loup took over and got out No. 2, but a two-out walk to Trea Turner brought Bryce Harper (0 for 3, K) to the plate as the potential tying run, but a backwards K ended the opportunity.
Suero returned to the mound in the bottom of the eighth, and retired the side in order to keep it a 2-0 game.
Former Nationals’ reliever Tyler Clippard got the call for the Blue Jays in the top of the ninth and retired the side in order. Ballgame.
Final Score: 2-0 Blue Jays.
Nationals now 37-30