The first-place Washington Nationals. Yes, it’s much too early to take the standings all that seriously, but the Nationals are now 6-2 on the young season following a walkoff 2-1 win over the Reds last night in 13 innings. That’s the team’s best record since they moved from Montreal to Washington in 2005.
The big hero last night? The $126 million man Jayson Werth. His bases-loaded single off Reds’ closer Sean Marshall knocked in Danny Espinosa with the winning run.
Werth was jeered regularly in D.C. last year for batting just .232 with a .718 OPS, but he’s hitting .303 (10-for-33) over his first eight games. With Michael Morse shut down for the next six weeks due to a lat injury, the Nationals need Werth to look a lot more like the player they thought they were getting last winter.
Your Friday box scores:
Angels 0, Yankees 5
Cubs 9, Cardinals 5
Pirates 0, Giants 5
Rays 2, Red Sox 12
Tigers 2, White Sox 5
Mets 5, Phillies 2
Indians 8, Royals 3
Orioles 7, Blue Jays 5
Astros 4, Marlins 5 (11 innings)
Rangers 4, Twins 1
Brewers 8, Braves 10
Diamondbacks 6, Rockies 7
Athletics 4, Mariners 0
Padres 8, Dodgers 9
Mets manager Terry Collins says that he has scratched Noah Syndergaard, who was supposed to start this afternoon’s game against the Braves. In his place will go Matt Harvey.
Syndergaard, Collins says, has “tired arm.” But also says he has some discomfort in his right biceps. He will have an MRI, but Syndergaard says it’s not serious and that he could pitch as soon as Sunday. Collins says this is an abundance-of-caution type thing, saying “we can’t take a chance on this guy.” Which is true.
The Mets ace is 1-1 with a 1.73 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 26 innings. He has walked no one this year. Not a soul.
James Paxton of the Mariners is 3-0 with a 1.39 ERA, 39 strikeouts and only six walks in 32.1 innings of work over five starts. Last night he shut the Tigers down, tossing seven shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing only four hits. With Felix Hernandez looking less than king-like lately, Paxton is asserting himself as the new ace of the Seattle staff.
And now the tall Canadian native has a nickname to match his ace-like status:
“Pax was really outstanding and we certainly needed it,” manager Scott Servais said of the Canadian southpaw. “Big Maple is what he was nicknamed tonight and I kind of like that. He was awesome.”
“Big Maple” is a fantastic nickname. That’s the sort of nickname guys used to get back when nicknames were great. Before managers just put “y” at the end of dudes’ names and before the “First Initial-First Three Letters of The Last Name” convention took hold in the wake of A-Rod.
“Big Maple.” That makes me smile. I’m gonna be smiling all dang day because of that.