Davey Martinez knows very well what the Washington Nationals are going to be going up against tonight when they take on Max Scherzer and the New York Mets in Game 2 of 162.
Scherzer, of course, spent seven total seasons in D.C., helping to win the 2019 World Series, tossing a couple no-hitters, taking home two Cy Youngs, and even striking out 20 batters in a game during his time in the nation’s capital.
Tonight, Scherzer will return to his former home to take on the Nationals, after he was dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers last July, and signed on in New York over the winter, taking a 3-year/$130M deal from Washington’s NL East rivals.
Martinez told reporters when he spoke following the Nats’ workouts on Wednesday, about his concern for the well-being of Scherzer’s new manager, Buck Showalter, who took on a new challenge in New York over the winter as well, signing on to manage the Mets.
“It’s definitely going to be different,” Martinez said of facing Scherzer now. “What I’d say is, ‘Good luck, Buck,’ when he goes to take him out of the game.”
Scherzer’s former teammate, Juan Soto, also said he was looking forward to taking on the three-time Cy Young award-winner after playing alongside the right-hander for four years.
“It’s going to be fun,” Soto said.
“Because even when he was here, he was talking to me, he was going back and forth about what he’s going to throw me and what he’s going to do. I know he didn’t give me any of his special things, but I think it’s going to be fun, and he’s going to try to strike me out and I will try my best to don’t strike out because I know he wants that really bad.”
Having spent four years together, including the 2019 campaign, which ended with the first World Series championship by a D.C.-based team since 1924, Soto and Scherzer know one another well, and the 23-year-old slugger said they had a great relationship when they were teammates.
“It was great,” Soto said of his time with the 37-year-old, 14-year veteran. “For me, he was like a mentor. He was there every time, he was giving me a lot of advice inside and outside of the field, and I was pretty good with him. He was a great dude, and he showed me a lot of things about the league, so for me he was a great guy.”
Did Scherzer pass on any wisdom or advice to his younger teammate that’s stuck with Soto even now that the pitcher is with the Mets?
“I mean, most of the things that he told me come from everybody,” Soto explained.
“But yeah, things like — in the field, like every time he goes out — he don’t tell me that, but every time you see him out there you know he’s giving his 100%, and that’s one of the things that he showed me, that every time you go onto the field you’ve got to give your 100% because it don’t matter if you feel bad or if you are in pain, if you go in the lines, you have to give your 100% is one of the things I learned from him.”
Scherzer told reporters yesterday he thinks returning to the mound in Nationals Park will be a lot of fun.
“It’s just going to be a crazy, wild atmosphere,” Scherzer said as he spoke in the visitor’s clubhouse in D.C.
“To be able to be a part of this — this was going to happen at some point — it was weird when I had that Dodgers uniform on too, so you get used to it, you get used to playing for another team, and you go out there and just compete and have fun. A lot of good memories here, there always will be good memories here, but nothing lasts forever, and as my baseball journey goes on, I’m here in New York, and excited about what the future holds.”
As for what sort of reception he’s expecting from the fans in his former home?
“That’s for the fans,” Scherzer said. “Whatever they want.”