Tag: Max Scherzer


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

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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.

Video: Carlos Gonzalez clubs 15th homer in last 27 games

Carlos Gonzalez

Carlos Gonzalez went deep off Max Scherzer in the top of the first inning Sunday afternoon at Nationals Park. And then he got to Scherzer again in the top of the sixth inning …

That’s now 15 home runs in 27 games for CarGo. He’s homered three times this weekend in D.C.