Max Scherzer struck out 15 of the 29 batters he faced in his start against Cincinnati’s Reds last week, giving up a run on three hits in eight innings, and throwing 120 pitches total in what ended up a 4-1 win in Great American Ball Park.
In Scherzer’s previous three starts before Saturday night’s, the 34-year-old right-hander had given up a total of two runs in 20 innings (0.90 ERA), walking four, striking out 30, and holding hitters to a combined .189/.241/.284 line.
“He pretty much dominated today,” Scherzer’s manager, Davey Martinez, told reporters in Cincinnati after the start against the Reds.
“For me when you are that No. 1 guy, that’s what you are going to get.”
“You’ve got your No. 1 guy out there, and that’s always good,” Martinez said. “So we’ve just got to continue to play, that was a tough loss today, we’ll come back tomorrow and we’ll do it again.”
Scherzer dominated the Padres, for the most part, in the third game of four with San Diego in Petco Park, throwing 76 pitches total in five scoreless, and working around five hits and a walk as the Nationals jumped out to a 4-0 lead. He was up to 90 after leaving a runner on after a two-out single in the sixth.
An 11-pitch, 1-2-3 seventh pushed him up to 101 pitches, and he picked up a strikeout for nine total from 28 batters faced.
Max Scherzer’s Line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 Ks, 101 P, 71 S, 8/3 GO/FO.
The only negative on the night for Scherzer was a comebacker which caught his left calf in the second that he shook off, staying in the game for another five innings.
Martinez said that Scherzer was sore, but managed to remain in the game and dominate while he was on the mound.
“Doesn’t surprise me a bit,” Martinez told reporters in Petco. “He got hit pretty hard, and he was sore, but he wanted to pitch.
“Every inning we had to keep checking up on him, but he was good and went out there and gave us what we needed to get, but that’s just who Max Scherzer is.”
“I’ve been hit in the calf before,” Scherzer said, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, after the game.
“I know it sucks. You’ve just got to see if it tightens up on you. We have some ways to kind of treat it in between innings, just try to compress it and keep it from getting worse. I felt like I could go back out there and pitch and still get through it.”
Do the Nationals think the calf will be a lingering issue going forward?
“It’s pretty stiff,” the manager said. “He’s going to be stiff tomorrow, I’m sure, but we’ve got an extra day and we’ll see how it plays out.”
Asked what he’s seen from the runner-up to the 2018 NL Cy Young in the past few starts, the Nats’ skipper said Scherzer has been good all season.
“He’s been pitching really well all year. He really has. Now, he’s just competing like he always does. I don’t see any difference of what he was doing in the beginning, but like I said, he’s Max and he goes out there and competes.”