The Nationals, the Metro and late night games

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Last week after that Nats-Mets game I went to, I noted the huge mob trying to take the Metro home.  But mobs getting the Metro after a game are one thing. There not being a train at all — and fans being forced to leave the game early to make the last one — is another issue altogether.

It popped up the other night during the rain delayed/extra inning Braves-Nats game, with a ton of fans leaving early in order to avoid being stranded in the District, far from their comfy Virginia and Maryland homes.  The question a lot of people had in the wake of that is what the Nats will do if, as seems likely, they make the playoffs. When the games start later and end later. And when they matter, rendering an early exit from the ballpark a really bad thing to contemplate.

Dan Steinberg of the DC Sports Bog has been following this for a while and goes over the situation today.  The upshot: the Nats would have to pay nearly $30,000 an hour to WMATA to keep Metro running. Per hour. Per game. And they’d have to sign a contract and place a deposit, meaning that they can’t do it on ad hoc basis. Other stuff about the issue can be read here and here.

One possible response I anticipate is to slag on the fact that Washington’s Metro closes at midnight to begin with. Well, tough. It’s always been that way. It’s a decision that they made a long time ago, most likely because it allows time for maintenance and cleaning (their trains and stations are quite nice compared to subways in other cities). And, oh, because there really isn’t a demand for 24 hour Metro service in Washington like there is in other cities.

So, yeah, it’s a problem. But not one that the city should have to solve. Their trains were running like that long before the Nats moved into town.

Video: Max Scherzer sets record with 13-strikeout outing

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Max Scherzer is a force to be reckoned with. The Nationals’ right-hander delivered a season-high 13 strikeouts against the Padres on Friday, locking down his fifth win and his fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the year.

More remarkably, it was also the 53rd double-digit strikeout performance of Scherzer’s career, tying Clayton Kershaw for the most 10+ strikeout appearances by an active major league pitcher. Chris Sale is a distant third, with 43 to his name, though he’s been making considerable strides to catch up so far this spring.

Scherzer took the Padres to task on Friday night, whiffing 13 of 31 batters during his 108-pitch outing. He started strong, catching Allen Cordoba swinging on a 1-2 count to start the game and keeping the game scoreless until Ryan Schimpf unleashed a home run in the fourth inning. That was the first and final run the Padres managed off of Scherzer, who retired 14 consecutive batters following the blast and came one out shy of a complete game in the ninth inning. (Fittingly, Koda Glover polished off the win with a final strikeout, bringing the total to 14 on the night.)

It’ll take more than one stellar start to advance Scherzer and Kershaw on the all-time list, however. Their 53-game record ranks 13th, about 159 games behind second-place Hall of Fame hurler Randy Johnson and a full 162 games shy of the inimitable Nolan Ryan.

Twins’ top prospect Nick Burdi will undergo Tommy John surgery

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Twins’ right-hander Nick Burdi is set to undergo Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, the team announced on Friday. Burdi made 14 appearances for Double-A Chattanooga before succumbing to a torn ulnar collateral ligament and is not expected to make his major league debut until mid-2018 at the earliest. A UCL tear doesn’t always require Tommy John surgery — less severe cases can be treated with platelet-rich plasma injections, for example — but Twins’ chief baseball officer Derek Falvey told the press that surgery was unavoidable as Burdi had sustained a “full thickness tear” in his elbow.

Entering the 2016 season, Burdi was widely considered a top ten prospect in the Twins’ system. His exceptional velocity and potent fastball-slider combo made him a fearsome relief option as he came off of his first season in Double-A Chattanooga in 2015. During the 2016 season, however, the 24-year-old experienced a significant setback after a bone bruise cut his season short in late July. Prior to Friday’s diagnosis, he appeared to be staging an impressive comeback with the Chattanooga Lookouts this spring, decorating his efforts with a sparkling 0.53 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 10.6 SO/9 over 17 innings.

It’s a tough break for the Twins, whose farm system was ranked 21st in the league by Baseball America. “Obviously he’s proven when he’s healthy he’s an absolute premium prospect, and the Twins are treating him that way,” Burdi’s agent, Matt Sosnick, told Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press. “We just want to make sure everything we do ultimately leads to the goal of getting him back on the field as quickly as he can.”