Nationals starters set franchise record for consecutive scoreless innings

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Doug Fister tossed seven scoreless innings against the Braves this afternoon as part of a 7-0 victory. In addition to extending the team’s winning streak to six games, he helped Nationals’ starters set a new franchise record along the way.

As noted by Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com, Nationals starters haven’t given up a run in their last 41 1/3 innings. The streak started with Joe Ross against the Pirates last Friday and followed with Max Scherzer’s no-hitter on Saturday and seven scoreless innings from Gio Gonzalez on Sunday. It has continued this week against the Braves, as Stephen Strasburg threw five shutout innings Tuesday and Jordan Zimmerman turned in eight scoreless last night before Fister kept it going today.

The previous franchise record was set by the 1981 Expos, who had 39 consecutive scoreless innings. This is the longest overall streak in MLB since the 2008 Indians, who had 44 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings. Scherzer will start tomorrow night against the Phillies, so the Nationals have a pretty good chance to surpass that total.

Nationals to reinstate Max Scherzer on Thursday

Max Scherzer
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Some good news for the Nationals today: All-Star hurler Max Scherzer is due back from the injured list this week, this time (hopefully) for good. He’s slated to start during Thursday’s series finale against the Pirates.

It’s been a long road back for the right-hander, who earned his seventh consecutive All-Star designation after heading into the break with a 2.30 ERA, 5.6 fWAR, and a league-leading 7.56 SO/BB rate. An untimely back injury forced him to the injured list in the days leading up to the All-Star Game, however, and he hasn’t returned in any kind of part-time or full-time capacity since.

While Scherzer was originally expected to pitch for the Nationals sometime during their weekend series versus the Brewers, manager Dave Martinez elected to push back his return date by a few days. It’s not clear whether he felt some lingering pain during his 64-pitch simulated start on Saturday or whether the Nationals simply want to play it safe with their ace, but either way, the club apparently feels like Scherzer will be back to full strength before the end of the week.

If so, his return would be a significant asset to the Nationals, who could use a sub-3.00 ERA, 5.0-fWAR starter to help bolster their standing in the NL East. Still, there’s no guarantee that the veteran righty is ready to shoulder a full-time role in Washington’s rotation, nor is it certain that he’ll be able to match his results from the first half of the season. In one start between IL stints last month, he dealt five innings of three-run, two-walk, eight-strikeout ball in an 8-7 loss to the Rockies.