Max Scherzer, eye blackened horribly from the broken nose he suffered on a fouled off bunt that hit him in the face in BP last night, took the mound against the Philadelphia Phillies and tossed seven scoreless on 117 pitches, striking out 10 of the 27 batters he faced in a 2-0 win for the Washington Nationals in the nation’s capital.
Scherzer vs the Phillies: Yeah, Max Scherzer broke his nose when he fouled a bunt off of his face in batting practice yesterday, but did you think, even for a second that that would keep the 34-year-old Nationals’ ace off the mound? If you did, you were wrong.
Max Scherzer got the thumbs up from his manager when he showed up at the park today, and he took the mound looking to help the Nats sweep the split doubleheader with the NL East rival Phillies.
YOUR FAVORITE BASEBALL PLAYER:— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) June 19, 2019
*smears eye black to look intimidating*
MAX SCHERZER: pic.twitter.com/rakeOQc2BZ
Scherzer tossed three scoreless to start, on 52 pitches, striking out three, and he added two more Ks in a scoreless 15-pitch fourth. He was apparently a little geeked up too, averaging a little over 96 MPH with his fastball (season average before tonight, 94.7), and touching 98 a number of times through the first four innings, generating 10 swinging and 10 called strikes with his first 67 pitches.
Max Scherzer, Disappearing 84mph Changeup. pic.twitter.com/CXkmvNhAav— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 20, 2019
He picked up two more Ks, for seven total from 19 batters faced, in a nine-pitch fifth that left him at 76 pitches overall on the night after five scoreless, and he came back out for the top of the sixth and worked around a leadoff walk to some guy named Bryce Harper in a 21-pitch frame for six scoreless on 97 pitches.
Scherzer hit in the bottom of the sixth, and came back out for the seventh and gave up a leadoff double to right-center by Cesár Hernandez, then struck out three straight to hit 10 Ks total on the night on his 117th pitch.
King Max, The Broken. 10th K. pic.twitter.com/VcCcYYiZt0— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 20, 2019
Max Scherzer’s Line: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 10 Ks, 117 P, 76 S, 3/3 GO/FO.
Arrieta in Washington, D.C.: When he faced the Nationals for the first time this season back on May 4th in Philadelphia, Phillies’ righty Jake Arrieta gave up five hits and three runs, two earned, in what ended up a 10-8 loss in which he received no decision.
In seven starts since he last faced Philly’s divisional rivals, the veteran starter had a 5.31 ERA, 20 walks, 33 Ks, and a .298/.377/.516 line against in 40 2⁄3 IP, going (2-3) in those outings.
Arrieta was through 1 2⁄3 scoreless tonight, before Brian Dozier got hold of a 3-2 sinker in his two-out at bat and hit it out to left field for his second home run of the day and his 12th this the season, putting the Nationals up, 1-0.
Arrieta held the Nationals there through five, giving up just two hits total (to Max Scherzer’s three hits allowed through five scoreless).
A 13-pitch, 1-2-3 sixth ended his outing, and he retired nine straight to end his night...
Jake Arrieta’s Line: 6.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 Ks, 1 HR, 85 P, 53 S, 9/1 GO/FO.
Dozier slow start behind him?: Coming into this afternoon’s half of the split doubleheader with the Phillies, Brian Dozier was 13 for 42 in 13 games and 12 starts in the month of June, (.310/.383/.619), with four doubles and three home runs over that stretch. He went 2 for 4 with a double and a home run in the 6-2 win in Game 1 of 2 today, leaving him with a .233 AVG (and 11 HRs) on the season.
Manager Davey Martinez talked after the first game about the results of the work Dozier and hitting coach Kevin Long did to get him turned around.
“He’s staying on the ball,” Martinez explained, “and you know, what I like a lot is he’s really not trying to do a whole lot, he’s just staying up the middle of the field and just staying on the ball.”
In the second game of the day with the Phillies, the second baseman homered the first time up, hitting a 3-2 sinker from Jake Arrieta out to left to give the Nationals a 1-0 lead after two.
BULLPEN ACTION: Juan Nicasio took over for the Phillies in the bottom of the seventh and tossed a scoreless frame to keep it a 1-0 game.
Wander Suero got the ball in the top of the eighth inning, and tossed a scoreless, 13-pitch frame.
Pat Neshek got the bottom of the eighth for the Phiilies and gave up a leadoff home run to left by Victor Robles, who hit a 1-0 slider out for No. 10 of 2019. 2-0.
Neshek left the mound with an injury one out later. JD Hammer took over and two walks put runners on first and second with two out before a groundout from Anthony Rendon ended the threat.
Sean Doolittle got the ninth and earned a save with a quick, 1-2-3 frame. Ballgame.
Nationals now 35-38