Max Scherzer threw 60 pitches as he labored through the first two innings of his start against the New York Mets tonight in Citi Field, but got through the next four on 45 to complete six innings on [checks math] 105 pitches in what ended up a 2-1 win for the Washington Nationals.
Scherzer vs the Mets - Take 2: Max Scherzer struggled through a long-ish first inning last week in D.C., but didn’t answer the bell for the second, when the Nationals and their ace gathered together and thought better of sending him back out since they knew going in that he was dealing with a right hamstring tweak.
Scherzer, who tweaked it running sprints in the lead-up to his previous outing, and did the same again last week, tried to go but they pulled the plug.
“Obviously what they saw after the first inning, [catcher Kurt Suzuki] just saw what my stuff was playing like. He didn’t like it. He just didn’t like what he saw,” Scherzer said afterwards.
“How the ball was coming out of my hand, what he was seeing. He just had a conversation with me, ‘Just get out of here. You’re taking on too much risk to continue to pitch.’”
Less than a week later, Scherzer returned to face the Mets again, this time in Citi Field and struggled to get through the first two innings, leaving the bases loaded in a 29-pitch first, then stranding two in a 31-pitch second which left him at [checks math] 60 pitches overall, though he had a 2-0 lead at that point.
Max Scherzer, Disgusting 87mph Changeup. pic.twitter.com/ntWBwaDgMI— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 11, 2020
Scherzer worked around a leadoff single in a quick, seven-pitch third, but Andrés Giménez tripled off the Nationals’ starter with one down in the fourth and scored on a sac fly to left by Luis Guillorme, 2-1 Nats.
A 16-pitch fifth, in which he worked around a two-out single, left Scherzer at 92 pitches on the night, and a 13-pitch sixth was his first 1-2-3 frame of the game.
Max Scherzer’s Line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 Ks, 105 P, 71 S, 3/2 GO/FO.
Porcello vs the Nationals - Round 2: Rick Porcello, who signed a 1-year/$10M deal with the Mets this winter, held the Nationals to a run on five hits in seven innings of work in a 3-1 W during the series in Nationals Park last week.
Davey Martinez talked before tonight’s game about how the Nationals needed to approach things this time out.
“He’s really good. He’s crafty,” Martinez said.
“He mixes his fastballs in with his changeup, he uses both sides of the plate. So, you got to focus on getting the ball up and hit the ball in the middle of the field, and this is something that we talk about.”
In his second consecutive start against NY’s NL East rivals from D.C. in a week, Porcello left an 0-1 sinker up in the zone for Trea Turner in the first at bat of the game, and though it did not go back up the middle, it went out to right for an opposite field home run and 1-0 lead.
Howie Kendrick singled to left to lead off the second, took second base on a two-out hit by Kurt Suzuki, and scored on a broken-bat flare to short left by Victor Robles, 2-0, but Robles got thrown out at second to end the inning.
Kendrick (2 for 2), and one out later, Eric Thames, singled off Porcello in the fourth, but Kurt Suzuki grounded into an inning-ending double play, and the Mets’ starter erased a single by Victor Robles in the fifth with a 4-6-3 DP, then got a backwards Ks to end the inning, and the scoreless sixth the right-hander tossed ended Porcello’s outing...
Rick Porcello’s Line: 6.0 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 Ks, 1 HR, 93 P, 64 S, 6/1 GO/FO.
Turn On: Trea Turner broke out of a mini-slump which saw him go 0 for 18 over a five-game stretch between 7/29 and 8/7 with a single in his first at bat in last Saturday’s game against the Baltimore Orioles, and the 27-year-old shortstop finished 1 for 5 that night, then added hits in the next two games as well, going 5 for 13 with a home run over that stretch.
Going into the series with the Mets this week, manager Davey Martinez talked about the fact that Turner, who went through most of the 2019 campaign with nine fingers on his bat after breaking his right index finger early last year, was still swinging with his surgically repaired digit off the bat at times this season.
“I think it’s become a habit,” Martinez said.
“He’s hit the ball well with the finger off, and I think now he kind of keeps it off. I really don’t think he realizes it. I’m not going to bring it up to him, but I really don’t think that he notices that it’s off the bat.”
Turner went 3 for 5 with a home run in last night’s series opener, and homered the first time up to lead off the second game of the series, so whatever’s working, right?
BULLPEN ACTION: Jared Hughes replaced Rick Porcello on the mound in the top of the seventh, and retired the Nationals in order.
Javy Guerra came on for the Nats in the bottom of the seventh and gave up a leadoff double to left by Luis Guillorme that Juan Soto either couldn’t reach or lost in the lights, but, either way, didn’t catch.
One out later, Brandon Nimmo walked, so Davey Martinez went to the pen again for Tanner Rainey, who got an inning-ending 4-6-3 DP with the third pitch he threw to Jeff McNeil. Still 2-1 Nationals.
Hughes hit Victor Robles to put the lead runner on in the top of the eighth, but Trea Turner grounded into his second double play of the game in the next at bat, and Adam Eaton sent one back to the mound to end a quick inning. Still 2-1 Nats.
Rainey retired the side in order in a 10-pitch eighth to keep the one-run lead intact.
Edwin Díaz worked around a Howie Kendrick single for a scoreless top of the ninth.
Daniel Hudson came on for the save opportunity in the bottom of the inning and retired the Mets in order to end it. Ballgame.
Final Score: 2-1 Nationals
Nationals now 6-7