Aaron wrote earlier today how Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton has bounced back nicely with the bat after a slow start to the season, but he’s also getting it done defensively. Look no further than this excellent leaping catch in the ninth inning this afternoon against the Pirates:
Not only did Hamilton rob Travis Snider of an extra-base hit and potentially save the game for the Reds, but he also nearly doubled off the runner at first base. Pretty impressive stuff.
Hamilton doubled, stole a base, and scored a run in today’s loss and is now batting .277/.313/.400 with four home runs, 21 RBI, and 29 stolen bases over 66 games this season. The 23-year-old speedster entered play today tied for 23rd among position players in fWAR (2.3). Not surprisingly, his defense has been a big reason for that.
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.