Between this, the Giants-Reds game and my well-known yet uncontrollable pitching fetish, I am really not liking living in the eastern time zone today. If NBC would act on my long-standing request to set me up in a nice little flat in that interwar Pacific Heights co-op I would have been awake for both of these, dammit.
Anyway: Felix Hernandez was wicked good last night, throwing his fifth career shutout and striking out 13. He allowed five singles and walked a dude, but that was about it.
The Sox got good pitching too, though, with Franklin Morales allowing only three hits in his seven inning, and it was 0-0 entering the ninth. The Red Sox had a chance to draw first blood that inning, putting runners on first and second with one out. But then Adrian Gonzalez flied out and Will “1 for 15 since the Youkilis trade” Middlebrooks popped out. Sorry, but you know people are thinkin’ it.
The M’s won it in the bottom of the inning when John Jaso singled to right field to score Casper Wells from second base. Cody Ross actually had Wells dead to rights on the throw — it beat him to the plate — but Jarrod Saltalamacchia couldn’t keep a handle on it.
I guess on a night where Felix Hernandez pitched so brilliantly, the fates couldn’t keep the W from him.
Nationals starter Max Scherzer bunted a ball into his face during batting practice on Tuesday, breaking his nose in the process. He ended up with a gnarly looking shiner around his right eye, making him appear a bit like Terminator. Scherzer still took the ball to start the second game of Wednesday night’s doubleheader against the Phillies.
Despite the injury, Scherzer was incredibly effective, limiting the Phillies to four hits and two walks across seven shutout innings, striking out 10 batters in the process. He might even have had some extra adrenaline going, as he averaged 96.2 MPH on his fastball, his highest average fastball velocity in a game since September 2012, per MLB.com’s Jamal Collier. The Nationals provided Scherzer with just one run of support, coming on a Brian Dozier solo home run off of Jake Arrieta in the second inning, but it was enough.
Wander Suero worked a scoreless top of the eighth with a pair of strikeouts. Victor Robles added a solo homer off of Pat Neshek in the bottom half. Closer Sean Doolittle took over in the ninth, working a 1-2-3 frame to give the Nats their 2-0 victory.
Over his last six starts, Scherzer now has a 0.88 ERA with a 59/8 K/BB ratio across 41 innings. He has gone six innings, struck out at least nine batters, and held the opposition to two or fewer runs in each of those six starts.