Max Scherzer faltered in the fifth, giving up five hits, a HBP, a walk, and four runs in a 31-pitch inning that took him from 77 pitches to 108 overall and ended his outing, but Kyle Finnegan took over with the bases loaded and two outs in what was suddenly a one-run game, 5-4 in the Washington Nationals favor, and got the final out of the inning on a 2-2 fastball that Jorge Alfaro took for a called third strike.
Tanner Rainey and Daniel Hudson followed on the mound with scoreless innings and the Nationals beat the Miami Marlins 5-4 in the first of two today in D.C.
Scherzer vs the Fish: Max Scherzer gave up eight hits, three of them home runs, and five runs total in seven innings of work last time out before today, but earned the win in a 6-5 victory over the Orioles in Baltimore.
“He was throwing the ball well,” Davey Martinez told reporters after the win. “He made a couple bad pitches, but other than that he was throwing the ball really well.”
Scherzer had allowed just one home run in 19 2⁄3 IP this season before giving up the three in seven innings against the O’s. Would he be able to keep the ball in the yard against the Fish today in D.C.?
This afternoon in Nationals Park, Scherzer battled through three long-ish innings, which he completed on 62 pitches with the Nats up 2-0 early on the Marlins.
Max Scherzer, Overpowering 97mph Fastball. pic.twitter.com/Mofk79u62D— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 22, 2020
It was 3-0 Nationals after three and a 15-pitch fourth, in which Scherzer retired the side in order left him at 77 pitches overall, and he came back out for the fifth with a 5-0 lead and gave up a one-out double by Magneuris Sierra and a two-out RBI single by Jonathan Villar that got the Fish on the board, 5-1, and 5-3 on a two-run home run by Matt Joyce in the at bat that followed.
Back-to-back singles in the next two ABs pushed Scherzer up to 100 pitches, but he stayed in to get the third out of the inning, and hit Brian Anderson on the elbow, loading the bases in front of rookie Jesús Sánchez, then fell behind 3-0 and walked the outfielder to make it a one-run game, 5-4.
Max Scherzer’s Line: 4.2 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 5 Ks, 1 HR, 108 P, 67 S, 4/2 GO/FO.
Castano vs the Nationals: One of three pitchers and four players total acquired in the trade that sent Marcell Ozuna to St. Louis in 2017, Daniel Castano, a 2016 19th Round pick by the Cards, made his MLB debut earlier this month, and in two starts before today’s, the 25-year-old lefty had a 4.35 ERA, three walks, six Ks, and a .231/.286/.538 line against in 10 1⁄3 IP.
Leadoff and one-out walks and a wild pitch in the first set Asdrúbal Cabrera up with an RBI opportunity the veteran infielder cashed in with a two-hop grounder to short that got by a lunging Miguel Rojas to bring in a run, 1-0. That was it for the Marlins’ starter. Wait, that’s it?
Daniel Castano’s Line: 0.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 23 P, 10 S,
This Season, Man: Max Scherzer took a liner back to the mound off his right shoulder in the final at bat of the opening frame this afternoon, but shook it off, then in the second, catcher Kurt Suzuki took back-to-back foul balls off his left wrist, identical pitches, fouls, and hits on the veteran backstop’s wrist. Both Scherzer and Suzuki stayed in the game. But c’mon 2020, give everyone a break, would you?
BULLPEN ACTION: Josh A. Smith took over for Miami with two on and one out in the first, and got out No. 2 without either runner he inherited advancing, but Josh Harrison singled out to left field to bring in a run before Asdrúbal Cabrera got tagged out between second base and third for the final out of the frame, 2-0 Nats.
Trea Turner doubled to start the Nationals’ third, stole third one out later, and scored on a sac fly to center by Howie Kendrick to put the Nationals up 3-0.
Kurt Suzuzki singled off Smith to star the Nationals’ fourth, and took third on a single to right by Josh Harrison, before scoring when the throw to third base got by the bag and allowed him to trot in, 4-0.
A walk to Carter Kieboom set Victor Robles up with runners on the corners and no one out, and a run scored when left fielder Corey Dickerson flat dropped Robles’s line drive. Sac fly and an E:7, 5-0.
It was 5-4 in the Nationals’ favor after Max Scherzer labored in the fifth and gave up four runs. Kyle Finnegan took over with the bases loaded and two outs and got up 0-2 on the Marlins’ catcher Jorge Alfaro and struck him out looking with a 2-2 fastball.
Jesus Tinoco, who finished off the Nationals’ fourth, came back out in the fifth and retired the Nationals in order.
Tanner Rainey retired the Marlins in order in a 10-pitch, 1-2-3 sixth.
Daniel Hudson came on for the save in the seventh inning, and retired the Marlins in order to end it. Ballgame.
Final Score: 5-4 Nationals
Nationals now 10-13