Bryce Harper and Chipper Jones are pitted against each other in the “Final Vote” contest for an All-Star spot, with most people assuming that the Nationals phenom will win.
Harper said Sunday that he’d vote for Jones because “I think a Hall of Famer should be able to go to the All-Star game his last year.”
Once word of that got back to Jones he texted Harper to say thanks and then had plenty of praise for the 19-year-old rookie, telling Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal Constitution:
That’s a very classy thing for a 19-year-old kid to say. I think he’s going to be in his fair share of All-Star games throughout the years. He’s an unbelievable talent and I just let him know that I appreciated what he said. It was classy.
Players inevitably dropping out due to injuries could mean that there’s room on the NL team for both Harper and Jones, but the other “Final Vote” candidates (Michael Bourn, David Freese, Aaron Hill) seemingly have zero chance to finish higher than third in the balloting.
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.