It helped that Max Scherzer was dominant and efficient against the Tampa Bay Rays last night in Washington, D.C.’s Nationals Park, where the Nats and Rays completed all nine innings of their matchup in 2:41.
That’s just eleven more minutes than it took to play the first seven-inning matchup of the doubleheader with the Braves last Friday in Atlanta (2:30), and significantly shorter than that night’s seven-inning nightcap (3:10). Saturday’s nine-inning game? 3:31. Sunday’s? 3:26. So was it nice for Scherzer and his teammates to have a sort of normal length game?
“I don’t know, nothing is normal this year,” Scherzer told reporters last night. “That’s great.
“We all want to play 2 hour 40 games, but with all the foul balls that go on, I think that’s the main driver of our game time. I don’t thing anybody has figured out why the pace of the game has slowed over the years. I think we all have our thoughts. It’s just kind of the way baseball is played at this time. For me, I think the thing that you can look at is maybe the foul balls do really slow the game down. And there’s just no way to get around that, with the rest of the league throwing as hard with as many pitches that we do, the style of game play now is just conducive to playing longer games. You’d love to be able to figure out a way to get the game shorter, but no one has figured that out, so good luck.”
Go read your links... read them quickly.
Scherzer leads Nationals:
Max Scherzer holds Rays scoreless in win - (MLB.com)
"'That’s the Max that we know right there,' Martinez said. 'He really pitched well. Needed that today, needed those seven innings from him, and he did it pretty easy.'"
Max Scherzer, Overpowering 96mph Fastball.— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 8, 2020
8th K. pic.twitter.com/yarVd1jivK
Scherzer, makeshift lineup come together to beat Rays - (MASN)
"And a return to elite form by Max Scherzer ensured the Nats would feel good about themselves at the end of a 6-1 victory that was cathartic on multiple levels."
Scherzer cools off Rays, Nats win 6-1 with makeshift lineup - (Washington Times)
"Washington ace Max Scherzer cooled off Tampa Bay with seven scoreless innings, and the Nationals used a makeshift lineup to beat the Rays 6-1 on Monday night."
Max Scherzer gives the Nationals some badly needed length against the Rays - (WaPost)
"Scherzer was well into a groove, working all of his fastball, cutter, curveball, change-up and slider."
Mike Rizzo Ejection Still Making Headlines:
Joe West and Mike Rizzo help 2020 become even stranger - (NBC Sports Washington)
"There are only so many synonyms for 'strange' to describe this 2020 Major League Baseball season, and the first two weeks of play did plenty to use them up."
Confused about Mike Rizzo's ejection by Joe West? So was Davey Martinez - (NBC Sports Washington)
"When Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo was ejected from the game against the Atlanta Braves on Sunday, it left everyone wondering why – including Davey Martinez."
Martinez on Soto, García, Cabrera, Scherzer, Difo and more - (MASN)
"Manager Davey Martinez did not have a definitive answer during his pregame media access today as to when left fielder Juan Soto will return to the Nationals lineup."
Rizzo is latest unusual ejection for Nats in unusual year - (MASN)
"Twenty-four hours later, Nationals manager Davey Martinez still isn’t entirely sure what happened between general manager Mike Rizzo and the umpiring crew during Sunday’s series finale in Atlanta."
Washington Nationals may have a long road back to World Series - (Sports Illustrated)
"In all likelihood, Washington's season is already sunk—Fangraphs places their playoff odds at 2.1%. The team is in real danger of breaking the dubious record set by the 1998 Florida Marlins (.333 winning percentage) for the worst defense of a World Series title."
By any measure, writes Tom Verducci, Trea Turner is putting together a season that places him near the top of the greatest class of shortstops ever assembled https://t.co/5aMC5Ri6RG— SI MLB (@si_mlb) September 7, 2020
Nationals shortstop Trea Turner chasing history - (Sports Illustrated)
"In a season in which the National League batting average has never been worse since the mound was lowered in 1969, Turner could be the league’s first batting champion in 85 years to hit better than .350 while playing shortstop."
NL EAST UPDATES:
Phillies have some high hurdles ahead after escaping New York with a victory - (Philadelphia Inquirer)
"After blowing a 6-0 lead Monday against the New York Mets, the Phillies rallied to win in extra innings. Now they have to play 23 games, including five doubleheaders, in the season's final 20 days."
Phillies beat the Mets 9-8 in extras in wild bullpen battle - (New York Daily News)
"You ever slap box with your siblings? Or maybe your favorite cousin? Not a real scrap — no closed fists, vigor, blood drawn or hard feelings..."
Ureña shakes off early rust in solid '20 debut - (MLB.com)
"José Ureña's return to the rotation Monday came with a bit of drama and plenty of reasons for optimism for the Marlins."
Anderson has 1st stumble: 'Tough to swallow' - (MLB.com)
"Losing an extra-innings game to a division opponent is easy to overcome. But losing back-to-back games started by Max Fried and Ian Anderson could have lingering effects for Atlanta."