Gio Gonzalez

Jose Tabata

No, the Nationals didn’t throw at Jose Tabata for breaking up Max Scherzer’s perfect game

47 Comments

On Saturday, Pirates outfielder Jose Tabata controversially broke up Max Scherzer’s perfect game with two outs in the ninth inning when he was hit by a two-strike slider. Some argued that Tabata intentionally leaned into the pitch. Others argued he should have at least made more of an effort to get out of the way of the pitch. Members of both groups suggested the Nationals should throw at Tabata in his first at-bat on Sunday.

Tabata took his place in the batter’s box in the second inning of Sunday afternoon’s series finale in Washington, D.C. against Gio Gonzalez, treated to a chorus of boos from the home crowd. Gonzalez’s first pitch to Tabata was a 91 MPH fastball over the middle of the plate.

Gonzalez would have been in the wrong for throwing at Tabata. For one, that would simply make him a bad human being, as a batter’s career can end in an instant if he’s hit by a pitch in the wrong area. Moreover, Tabata did nothing wrong in getting hit on Saturday when he faced Scherzer. The logic that getting hit by a pitch to break up Scherzer’s perfect game is “bush league” — as many argued yesterday — is as silly as thinking that Yankees reliever Jose De Paula was bush league for not throwing a meatball to J.D. Martinez this afternoon when he came to the plate in the seventh inning with an opportunity to have a four-homer game. He flew out to right field instead. Should the Tigers have thrown at one of the Yankees? Or maybe Bryan Holaday — who hit directly behind Martinez — should have kicked a clump of dirt around home plate into Yankees catcher Brian McCann’s face?

Unwritten rules are dumb, you guys.

Max Scherzer is “good to go” and could start Friday

Max Scherzer
1 Comment

Max Scherzer missed his scheduled Tuesday start because of a sprained thumb, but the Nationals insisted it was a minor injury and sure enough the former Cy Young winner may be been cleared to start Friday against the Mets.

Scherzer threw a problem-free bullpen session Tuesday while call-up A.J. Cole was taking his turn in the rotation, telling Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post that he’s “good to go.”

Gio Gonzalez was scheduled to start Friday, but the Nationals may decide to push Gonzalez and Doug Fister back one day apiece in order to get the $210 million free agent pickup on the mound again.

Nationals prospect A.J. Cole will make his MLB debut in place of injured Max Scherzer

A.J. Cole Nationals
8 Comments

Nationals right-hander and top-100 prospect A.J. Cole will be called up today to make his MLB debut starting in place of the injured Max Scherzer.

Cole was originally the Nationals’ fourth-round draft pick in 2010, but Washington traded him to Oakland in the Gio Gonzalez deal only to reacquire him in the three-team swap that sent Michael Morse to Seattle.

In calling up Cole for his debut the Nationals bypassed Tanner Roark, who started 32 games with a 2.85 ERA last season before being bumped to the bullpen by Scherzer’s arrival. For now the team is hoping that Scherzer will only miss one start with a thumb injury and Roark likely would have been limited to fewer than 75 pitches, so manager Matt Williams opted for the hard-throwing 23-year-old Cole versus Atlanta.

Cole has a 3.23 ERA and 60/18 K/BB ratio in 78 innings at Triple-A, including 11 starts there last season and three starts there this year.