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Max Scherzer matched a franchise strikeout record on Friday


During Friday’s 7-2 win over the Mets, Nationals’ ace Max Scherzer became the second starter in franchise history to string five consecutive starts together with 10+ strikeouts each. It’s a feat we’ve already seen the Red Sox’ Chris Sale replicate earlier this season, going eight consecutive starts with at least 10 strikeouts, but one that a Nationals’ pitcher has failed to accomplish since Pedro Martinez did it for the Expos in 1997.

Scherzer lasted eight innings on Friday, firing 10 strikeouts to clinch his eighth win of the season. He allowed three batters to reach via walk and hit by pitch in the first two innings, but kept the game scoreless through seven solid frames until Jose Reyes unloaded a 1-1 home run to kick off the eighth inning.

The veteran righty topped out at a season-high 118 pitches, besting the 116-pitch mark he hit back in April during seven innings of two-hit, seven-strikeout ball against the Braves. His 10 strikeouts were just enough to extend his strikeout streak, four shy of the 14 he set down against the Dodgers last week.

Scherzer will still need another 10-strikeout start to match Martinez, who polished off a streak of six such appearances for the club in ’97. He’ll need four more to supersede the all-time record of eight consecutive starts with 10+ strikeouts, which was set by Martinez in 1999 and matched by Sale twice in 2015 and 2017.

Mike Fiers may not be ready for start of regular season due to back issue

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Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports that Tigers starter Mike Fiers is dealing with a back issue and may not be ready for the start of the season. Manager Ron Gardenhire characterized the injury as a “stiff back” and added, “Maybe a little bit of a bulging disk or something like that.”

Fiers, 32, signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the Tigers in December. He has had a forgettable spring, yielding 12 runs on 10 hits and eight walks with seven strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings.

Fiers had a rotation spot locked up along with Michael Fulmer, Jordan Zimmermann, and Francisco Liriano. Matt Boyd and Daniel Norris were battling it out for the No. 5 spot. If Fiers opens the regular season on the 10-day disabled list, both could have spots in the rotation.