Tag: Max Scherzer

Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins at Nationals Park, Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Stephen Strasburg expected to return for series against Mets next week

1 Comment

Stephen Strasburg is having his turn skipped this Friday against the Braves after he came out his most recent start last Sunday with discomfort in his upper back, but Mark Zuckerman of CSNMidAtlantic.com reports that he’s on track to return for a crucial series against the first-place Mets next week.

After throwing off flat ground on Tuesday and Wednesday, Strasburg made it through a bullpen session this afternoon with no pain. The plan calls for him to make his return in the series finale against the Mets next Wednesday, with Max Scherzer and Jordan Zimmerman pitching in the first two games.

Strasburg has been much more like his usual self since June, but he showed a noticeable dip in velocity in his start against the Marlins last Sunday while allowing four runs on four hits (including two home runs) over four innings. The Nationals will have to hope that the time off did him some good.

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

Clayton Kershaw

Dodgers 2, Giants 1: Kershaw: Complete game, one earned run, 15 strikeouts. He also got a hit. That’s 251 Ks on the year for Kershaw and he still has five or even possibly six starts left, barring him being skipped a time or two to get ready for the postseason. And given that the Dodgers just swept the Giants and opened up a six and a half game lead in the West, I’d say the postseason looks pretty certain.

Nationals 4, Cardinals 3: Ryan Zimmermann homered twice and the Nationals managed to hold a slim lead in the late innings for once. Max Scherzer struck out 11 but gave up 11 hits while clinging to a 3-2 lead, forcing him out after six innings. Matt Williams decided that, rather than letting a bad reliever blow the save, he’d just let everyone in a Nats uniform pitch. Matt Grace, the third pitcher of the seventh inning, did the save-blowing honors here. allowing an inherited runner to score to tie things up. Williams used four pitchers in the seventh in all. Zimmermann thankfully tied things up with an eighth inning double and in the eighth and ninth Williams went with Drew Storen and Jonathan Papelbon who did their usual jobs. I shudder to think what Williams might’ve done if he DIDN’T have a lead in the ninth on the road. Maybe have Zimmerman pitch? Could be cool?

Marlins 7, Braves 3: Marlins sweep the Braves, who just lost the last eight games of a nine-game homestand. That’s the longest home losing streak for Atlanta since 1988. Which is wonderful, because the 1988 Braves were the best Braves team ever.

Reds 7, Cubs 4: The Cubs were down by two in the eighth inning when Kris Bryant hit a game-trying home run. Yay! Then, in the ninth, with the score tied, Bryant let a Jay Bruce grounder go through the wickets on what would’ve and should’ve been out number three. That extended the inning and allowed Joey Votto to come to the plate and he promptly hit a three-run homer. Oops! Votto on the season: .316/.457/.567 and 27 homers. He could easily make the list my friends Mike and Bill at the Platoon Advantage did several years ago of The Greatest Individual Seasons on Terrible Teams.

Angels 9, Athletics 4: Albert Pujols had an RBI singe and a two-run homer. The homer was his 35th, giving him 10 35-home run seasons in his first 15 years. Only four guys have done that before. The only other ones: Willie Mays, Mike Schmidt and Alex Rodriguez.

Yankees 13, Red Sox 8: The Yankees scored eight times in the second inning, with homers from Greg Bird, John Ryan Murphy and Carlos Beltran in that inning and added dingers from Stephen Drew and Didi Gregorius later in the game. Bird’s homer came off Henry Owens, a lefty, so maybe all that talk about the need to platoon Bird at first base is overstated. Twenty-one runs in this game and it still lasted “only” three and a half hours. Which is something for a Yankees-Red Sox game. Back in the day a 2-1 game with complete games from both starters would push four hours. Viva La Innings Clock.

Mariners 8, Astros 3: Shawn O’Malley had three hits, including a tiebreaking RBI single in a two-run eighth inning. Not bad for his Mariners debut. A Seattle kid, O’Malley said after the game that “my grandpa and father were huge Mariners fans.” Given that I remember when people still invariably referred to the Mariners as “an expansion team,” I find it hard to get my brain around the idea of anyone’s grandfather being a Mariners fan. Of course I’m an old fart, so whatever.

Rangers 4, Padres 3: Mitch doubled in the go-ahead run in the 10th inning, cutting first-place Houston’s lead in the AL West to two games. Which, holy moly, it’s crazy enough that Houston is the team they’re chasing, but the Rangers getting close is just as amazing given what everyone was thinking back in the spring.

Orioles 7, Rays 6: Two homers from Chris Davis including the walkoff bomb in extras. Watch that second one as it enters the stands.

It’s very nice of Davis to wake up that man sleeping in the center field bleachers, no?

Blue Jays 5, Indians 1: R.A. Dickey went the distance, allowing only one run on four hits. In case you were looking for even more data points about how the Blue Jays have surged, how about R.A. Dickey being  7-0 with a 2.78 ERA in the second half?

Mets 9, Phillies 4: Ruben Tejada hit an inside-the-park home run on a ball when outfielder Domonic Brown flipped over the wall down the right field line trying to field it:


Oops. Yoenis Cespedes and rookie Michael Conforto had homers that didn’t make Phillies fielders look silly.

Royals 12, Tigers 1: Yordano Ventura struck out 11 in seven innings and Royals batters formed conga lines around the bases against Tigers pitching. Not long until the Wolverines, Wings and Lions get started, Michigan people. Yes, even the Lions are worth looking forward to this year.

Brewers 9, Pirates 4: The Brewers have been owning the Pirates lately, notching their fifth straight win against them. Jonathan Lucroy drove in three runs. Lucroy has a ten game hitting streak in which he’s 18 for 40 (.450) with three homers and 14 RBI.

Twins 3, White Sox 0: Tommy Milone tossed seven shutout innings and Miguel Sano hit a long homer. As Aaron drooled yesterday, Sano  is hitting .295/.403/.608 with 14 homers, 13 doubles, 33 walks, 41 RBI and 32 runs through 50 games. Extrapolated to 162 games that works out to 45 homers, 42 doubles, 107 walks, and 133 RBIs. And, as we noted the other day, he’s only 22 friggin years old.


Rockies 9, Diamondbacks 4: Two homers for Carlos Gonzalez, including a grand slam and seven driven in. Nolan Arenado also hit a homer. The two of them are tied for the team lead with 33. They’re also the only two reasons to really watch Rockies games.

Max Scherzer gave his catchers Hublot watches for catching his no-hitter and one-hitter


Jordan Zimmermann gave Steven Souza a Best Buy gift card for the catch that saved his no hitter last year. Max Scherzer upped the ante a bit. From James Wagner of the Washington Post:

. . . after Max Scherzer tossed his career first no-hitter on June 20 against the Pirates, he bought catcher Wilson Ramos a little something for his help that day. But Scherzer didn’t stop with Ramos. He also gave catcher Jose Lobaton, who was behind the plate when Scherzer tossed a one-hitter against the Brewers on June 14, the same gift: an elegant Hublot watch.

They’re not cheap, though Wagner does not know which model was given. They retail from between $2,000 and $80,000 or even more for crazy ones.

There are some nice, graceful quotes from Scherzer and his catchers in the article. It’s been a crappy second half for Washington, but this is nice at least.

The Nationals have lost six straight, eight of ten and are now under .500


Back in March the Nationals were everyone’s favorites. They had just signed Max Scherzer to a mega deal which put him alongside Jordan Zimmermann, Stephen Strasburg, Doug Fister, and Gio Gonzalez as perhaps the best rotation in baseball. They had a core of guys with both speed and defensive bonafides in Anthony Rendon, Denard Span, Ian Desmond. They had Jayson Werth. They had a healthy Bryce Harper and a healthy Ryan Zimmerman.

They also had, in terms of competition, a Braves team which decided to punt the year and rebuild, a Phillies team which looked like a disaster and Mets and Marlins teams which, while on the upswing, didn’t figure to match the firepower of the Washington Nationals. Simply put, no one in their right mind did anything but pick the Nationals to win the East and win it easily. And they still may win the NL East. There’s a month and a half of baseball to go and anything can happen.

Right now, however, they are looking terrible. They’ve lost six in a row, eight of ten and find themselves at 58-59, four and a half games back of the Mets. Who, by the way, also got swept this weekend, which means the Nats lost a prime opportunity to make up ground. Or, if you’re more of an optimist, saved the Nats from being buried even deeper than they are.

Also, if you’re optimistic, you can say that it was gonna be an ugly road trip to begin with. Yes, they’re 1-6 on the west coast swing and were just shut out for the third time in six games, but those three shutouts came at the hands of Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner, who are probably the three best pitchers in the game. And, after an off-day today, they do get to play the Rockies who are no great shakes. We’ll just forget for a moment that the Nats dropped two of three to the Rockies at home last week.

No matter how you want to spin it, the numbers don’t lie and the numbers are pretty ugly. The Nats are 10-20 since the All-Star break. While four and a half games don’t seem like an insurmountable deficit, it becomes harder and harder the longer time goes on. If the Mets play at their current pace the rest of the way the Nats have to go something like 12-games over .500 for the remainder of the season to beat ’em out. And, because the wild card deficit is so big — nine and a half games — there is no margin for error here. Second place means watching the playoffs from home.

Time to get moving, Nats. You have a lot of expectations to live up to and not a lot of time left to do it.

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 8.05.51 AM

Blue Jays 2, Yankees 0: A pretty darn big sweep here, both in terms of what it means in the standings and what it means for, I dunno, the optics of it all. Three straight games from the team you’re chasing is a big deal, and now the Jays are only a game and a half back of the Yankees. But doing so in three straight low-scoring games in which the Yankees scored only one run is kind of crazy. We’ve gotten used to the Blue Jays bashing the hell out of people. Seeing them hold New York down like this is another thing altogether. That’s eight straight wins overall for Toronto. Look out American League.

Diamondbacks 4, Reds 3: Chris Owings had a walkoff single in the tenth, but the Reds tried to turn this into a Merkle’s Boner game by claiming that the runners didn’t properly advance and finish the play before going to celebrate the win. That didn’t end up washing — Owings and the runner who scored ran out their end of the play — but the discussion about it certainly made the end of things weird. Also, it gives us all the chance to say “boner,” and that’s always good.



Angels 5, Orioles 4: David Murphy drove in four, including a walkoff single in the 11th inning. Buck Showalter walked both Mike Trout and Albert Pujols with two out to get to Murphy before his game-winning hit, willingly putting a runner on third base to do it. Which ain’t exactly the best strategy I’ve ever seen, but even Buck Showalter is allowed to have a bad day, right? After the game Showalter said “I was just trying to give us the best chance to win.” I get that I guess, but pitching to anyone with the bases loaded seems more dicey to me than trying to retire even really good hitters with a runner on second. Also, someone watch the video of Murphy’s hit and explain to me why the outfield was playing so damn shallow. Anything on the ground scores a runner from third. With two outs, don’t you play straight up? And if you’re playing straight up, doesn’t the left fielder catch that fly from Murphy? Just weird.

Rays 4, Mets 3: Richie Shaffer hit a tie-breaking homer in the seventh inning off of Bartolo Colon. After the game he talked about how it was a big deal for him because his dad is from Cleveland and is a big Cleveland Indians fans and used to like watching Bartolo Colon. If you need me I’ll be in the next room crying all day after realizing just how damn old I am that major league ballplayers talk about how their DADS used to watch old timers who broke into the big leagues two years after I graduated from college and got married.

Red Sox 7, Tigers 2: Jackie Bradley Jr., who has been a non-factor on offense in the majors, homered, tripled and drove in five. Henry Owens got his first big league win. Go Junior Red Sox.

Indians 8, Twins 1: Corey Kluber tossed a three-hit complete game allowing one run and striking out ten in a cool 100 pitches. It was very nice of him to let the Twins get to the airport and back to Minnesota so early like that.

Rockies 6, Nationals 4: That’s a game that’ll bug the Nats for a good long while. Max Scherzer on the mound against a bad team like Colorado and a lead heading into the sixth inning. The Rockies tied it on a Carlos Gonzalez homer, however — they hit three off Scherzer in the game, two from Gonzalez — and then Drew Storen gave up two runs in the eighth inning. Washington mounted something of a rally in the ninth, but nothing came of it. They remain a game and a half behind the Mets.

Royals 5, White Sox 4: On paper, a game in which Danny Duffy couldn’t make it out of the fourth inning, Kelvin Herrera blew a lead and Greg Holland was unavailable would seem like the sort of game the Royals lose. Nah. Because they just don’t lose much these days. The sweep puts the Royals lead in the Central at a hilariously insurmountable eleven and a half games.

Brewers 5, Cardinals 4: I don’t pay that much attention to Khris Davis in the grand scheme of things, but every time he comes to my attention it’s because he’s hit two home runs in a game. Some people never touch your life. Some people you can’t stop thinking about. Some people serve some narrow role in it like “the player you will forever think about when someone says ‘two homers in a game.'” The Brewers’ win snapped the Cardinals four-game winning streak.

Cubs 2, Giants 0: The Cubs sweep the Giants in the four game series. Jake Arrieta pitched shutout ball into the eighth and also [all together now] helped his own cause when he tripled and eventually came in to score in the second inning. The Cubs have won ten of 11 and are now three an a half up on San Francisco for the second wild card. The Giants will be better off looking at the division title, where they trail the Dodgers by only three.

Athletics 5, Astros 4: Newcomer Danny Valencia homered in the fourth inning and singled in the winning run in walkoff fashion. Valencia is 7-for-16 with five RBI since coming over from Toronto. Houston’s loss — their third straight — puts them a mere half game up on the Angels.

Mariners 4, Rangers 2: Nelson Cruz tied Mike Trout for the league lead in homers at 33 and extended his hitting streak to 19 games. During the streak he’s batting .422 with 11 home runs, six doubles and 15 RBI. In addition to leading the league in homers, he’s one point behind Jason Kipnis and Prince Fielder for the lead in batting average and seventh in RBI, 14 behind the leader, Josh Donaldson. That last one may be too hard to make up for the Triple Crown, but he’s at least within shouting distance. Just an amazing season for the guy.

Phillies 5, Padres 3: Phillies sweep the Padres because the Phillies are actually good now and nothing makes sense in the universe. Jerome Williams of all people starred here, allowing one run in seven innings. When Jerome Williams shuts you down, you need to take a good long look in the mirror.

Marlins 4, Braves 1: The Marlins snapped a six-game skid. Brad Hand allowed one run in seven innings and [all together now] helped his own cause by driving in two runs on sacrifices.

Pirates 13, Dodgers 6: The Dodgers took a 5-4 lead into the seventh inning in this one. I suppose, somewhere, someone turned the game off at that point because they were tired or whatever. In which case they missed the Pirates score NINE RUNS in the bottom half of the frame. Dodgers reliever Jim Johnson was charged with eight of those runs in two-thirds of an inning. I swear he was actually halfway decent for Atlanta this year before heading to LA in that three-way trade with the Marlins. But he has stunk up the joint for the Dodgers. Pittsburgh sweeps the three-game series and wins their sixth in seven games.