Max Scherzer pitched Sunday’s game against the Miami Marlins like he had something important going on afterward, completing a 3-1 victory in a little more than two-and-a-half hours.
Turned out something important was happening: Minutes after striking out Corey Dickerson on a 96-mph fastball to end the game, Scherzer was on his way to a hospital to be with his wife Erica for the birth of their third child.
Scherzer walked off the mound at 3:42 p.m. after the two-hour, 37-minute game.
At 5:38 p.m., less than two hours later, Derek Alexander Scherzer was born, weighing 8 lbs 5 oz and measuring 20 inches.
“He didn’t mention a word about it until after the game,” said Manager Davey Martinez afterward. “After the game he’s out of here. So, he’s ready to go play daddy for a while and a good husband.”
But Scherzer may have been discussing more than one game plan beforehand with catcher Yan Gomes.
“We knew going into it, that’s why we tried to make it a quick game,” Gomes joked afterward. ”We’re really excited for them. Hopefully everything goes well.”
First baseman Ryan Zimmerman, already a father of three, hit a three-run homer to provide all the scoring Scherzer would need to complete a five-hit, one-run, nine-strikeout performance.
“For him to go complete game and pitch the way he did today and then go over and have a baby with his wife, pretty cool day for him,” Zimmerman said. “So we’re happy for him, and he never ceases to amaze.”
Zimmerman also told reporters that team medical professionals work with the players and their families to prepare for the arrival of a new family member in season.
“We’re really lucky to have really good team doctors and the communication and the people that we have that help our wives through all this stuff,“ said Zimmerman. “Having an organization and a team that will do anything to make you and your wife comfortable and help out, and do whatever they can to make it as normal as it can be when you’re playing a baseball game every day.”
Zimmerman also had to fill in for Scherzer in an important post-game duty: wearing the Capitals’ hockey helmet the players use to crown to the star of the game.
“I told him I would take care of it since he has some important stuff to do,” Zimmerman deadpanned through the helmet’s clear-plastic eye covering. “But I like the goalie helmet better. I’m better a goalie,” said Zimmerman, who has strapped on the pads and practiced in goal with Alexander Ovechkin and his team.
“I told him I would take it for just this one time, so he owes me a baby-sitting later down the road. But I don’t know if I would want Max to babysit my kids though.”
And while there were plenty of jokes in the post-game zoom calls about how Scherzer moved the game along and finished quickly, Gomes said he and Scherzer don’t ever talk about that beforehand.
“We don’t game plan on efficiency,” he said. “We game plan really on just getting people out. Whatever is working that day.”