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Wire Taps: Max Scherzer dominates (again); Austin Voth keeps his spot; Victor Robles’s HBP problem

Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news before the start of the second of three with the Marlins in Miami...

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MLB: Washington Nationals at Miami Marlins Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

With Fernando Rodney’s appearance yesterday, two very important things happened:

  • A player wearing a Nationals hat wore their hat slightly sideways
  • A player wearing a Nationals uniform did the bow and arrow

Team history, folks!

Here’s the scoop from South Beach:

How the Nationals have battled back into the playoff picture (ESPN)
The Nats have won 18 of 27 since May 24th, the second-best record in baseball over that stretch. They're three games within a wild card spot and trending in the right direction because they're healthy, Max Scherzer is dominating, Juan Soto found his groove, and the bullpen has sort of done better.

Austin Voth to start in Detroit, Ryan Zimmerman likely to be there (MASN)
Voth will maintain a spot in the rotation after his impressive start against Atlanta, and the Nats will then see where he is after he pitches in the Motor City.

Max Scherzer dominates, Nationals cruise in Miami (MASN)
“You’ve got to come down here, and you might not have fans in the stands, there’s no atmosphere here, but you’ve got to mentally bring it every single time,” Scherzer said of Marlins Park, which featured a crowd tonight of 7,327. “They know how to play in this atmosphere, and that’s what they’re really good at: grinding you away. It’s happened to me coming down here. I was fully aware of that, wanted to come down here and put together my A game.”

Victor Robles gets hit by pitches often. His manager wants to see him protect himself. (WaPo)
Victor Robles does more than hug the plate when he's up to bat — he envelops it, embraces it, makes it part of his being. That often means that things (inside pitches) intended to reach the plate instead reach him. Davey Martinez is not happy about it, and because pitchers now throw him almost exclusively outside or over the middle, his average has dropped.

Max Scherzer continues dominant June in win (
Since a previous poor performance against the Marlins, Scherzer has a 1.76 ERA with 112 strikeouts over 12 starts. He also, oddly, went two-for-three at the plate?

Nationals avoid all the drama for once as Max Scherzer shuts down the Marlins (WaPo)
The most drama came when Max Scherzer rounded third base, looking to score, before Bobby Henley held him up. That, and Fernando Rodney's mildly concerning ninth inning that he still managed to make work. Of course, the drama is overarching — the fact that Rodney was there in the first place is a testament to this season's ups and downs.

Max Scherzer is having the best month of his career (NBCSW)
Since his atrocious (well, for Max standards) start in April, Scherzer has dominated. He has the highest fWar in the majors for any pitcher, leading in strikeouts and starts, and has been a one-man wrecking crew in June, with a 0.97 ERA and 0.70 WHIP with 70% of his pitches thrown for strikes.

Ryan Zimmerman is ready to rejoin Nationals, but in what capacity? (NBCSW)
Zimmerman played a full game (finally) in Harrisburg. He could show up as a DH in Detroit. But perhaps most importantly, someone will have to go to make space for Zimmerman. (Also: this injury has shown that the Nats will almost certainly turn down Zimmerman's team option at the end of the season.)

Rosenthal: Tatis Jr. needs to be an All-Star; more trades in the Cards?; unusual deal could be a steal; news and notes (The Athletic)
Ken Rosenthal doesn't think the Nats made the right move by firing Derek Lilliquist, and has some ideas for the All-Star Game as well.

Nationals promote reliever Jonny Venters to majors (WaPo)
Venters, 34, compiled a Rosenthalian ERA in Atlanta — 17.36 in nine games and 4.2 innings. Of course, in Harrisburg, he had a 1.29 ERA, so it's really quite hard to know what these Nats are getting.

Nats asking Venters, Rodney to help stabilize improving 'pen (MASN)
Johnny Venters dominated in 2011 and then didn't pitch again in the majors until 2018. He's now completed another comeback to the bigs after Atlanta let him go earlier this year, and will likely be a lefty specialist for Davey Martinez after working on some tweaks in Harrisburg.

Seven Reasons Why the Washington Nationals Won't Trade Max Scherzer (Baseball Essential)
The fans would riot. Nobody can meet the asking price. It would mean tearing everything down without much of a plan to build things back up. They can still—maybe—make the playoffs. And more!

Call to arms -- Nats bring up vets to bolster pen (ESPN)
Venters is a former All-Star and was the NL Comeback Player of the Year last year after his third Tommy John surgery.