Max Scherzer’s Spring started with a strikeout, mais bien sûr, and a quick, 13-pitch bottom of the first inning ended with a K as well as the Washington Nationals’ 35-year-old ace and the 2020 campaign got started in earnest in Grapefruit League action in West Palm Beach, FL last night.
Scherzer, who was scheduled to throw around 30-40 total pitches in his initial outing of the Spring, got 22 of them in, over two scoreless frames before rain started falling, leading to a lengthy delay, so that was it for the right-hander, whose start ended at that point.
The game never started back up, but Scherzer told reporters he was just happy to get some work in.
“Good to get out there, start throwing all of my pitches,” Scherzer said. “So, that’s all you’re looking for, [is] to get out there. So now I’ll get my routine of getting into a five-day rotation here, and off and running.”
It was Scherzer’s first competitive outing since the end of October, and the atmosphere was a little different, in a different venue, though he was facing the same opponent.
“The last game I pitched was the Game 7 of the World Series,” Scherzer said, “and we’re talking about Spring Training, so it’s a little hard to replicate that, but once you get going here, I know how Spring Training works, and here in a few starts that’s when everything starts to really matter.”
“I liked his tempo,” manager Davey Martinez said of Scherzer’s outing, as quoted by MLB.com’s Jessica Camerato.
“I liked his mechanics. The ball was coming out really good. He threw a really good curveball, really good changeups. We’ll build from there.”
“Make your little adjustments off of what happened tonight,” Scherzer added, “and see if I can make adjustments going into the next start and see if those adjustments happen and then go from there.
“We’re back playing baseball and this is what’s fun.”
Today is February 22 and we already have footage of Max Scherzer stomping around the mound after a strikeout.#Scherzday // #NATITUDE pic.twitter.com/kHW4IrirrN— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) February 22, 2020