Max Scherzer was already reeling after surrendering a hit to the Phillies in the sixth inning of Friday night’s start at Citizens Bank Park, ending his bid for a perfect game, which would have doubled as the back end of back-to-back no-hitters. That would have paired him with Johnny Vander Meer as the only pitchers to have tossed back-to-back no-hitters.
Then Scherzer relented a run in the seventh on a Domonic Brown RBI double to left-center, which ended the Nationals’ streak of 48 consecutive scoreless innings pitched by the starting rotation.
Ahead 5-1, manager Matt Williams opted to have Scherzer start the eighth inning, which was a bit questionable considering the right-hander’s recent workload, his pitch count nearing 100, and the fact that the Nationals were comfortably ahead. Freddy Galvis helped Scherzer out, though, popping up a bunt attempt on the first pitch to bring up Ben Revere.
Revere, if you aren’t aware, is not exactly known for his power. He memorably had baseball’s longest active home run drought, at 1,466 at-bats, before ending it in late May last year. He homered again in September for good measure. Revere hadn’t homered since then. Scherzer hadn’t allowed a home run since Stephen Drew took him yard on June 9. Revere had 304 homerless plate appearances on the year coming into Friday’s action; Scherzer had thrown 1,449 pitches and yielded only six home runs (0.41%). And yet, as baseball is wont to do, the statistically improbable happened:
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MILWAUKEE — The Brewers had two players and a staff member test positive for the coronavirus at their alternate training site in Appleton, Wisconsin.
Milwaukee president of baseball operations David Stearns confirmed the positive results Saturday and said they shouldn’t impact the major league team. Teams are using alternate training sites this season to keep reserve players sharp because the minor league season was canceled due to the pandemic.
Stearns said the positive tests came Monday and did not name the two players or the staff member. Players must give their permission for their names to be revealed after positive tests.
The entire camp was placed in quarantine.
“We have gone through contact tracing,” Stearns said. “We do not believe it will have any impact at all on our major league team. We’ve been fortunate to get through this season relatively unscathed in this area. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get all the way there at our alternate site.”
Milwaukee entered Saturday one game behind the Reds and Cardinals for second place in the NL Central, with the top two teams qualifying for the postseason.
The Brewers still will be able to take taxi squad players with them on the team’s trip to Cincinnati and St. Louis in the final week of the season. He said those players have had repeated negative tests and the team is “confident” there would be no possible spread of the virus.
“Because of the nature of who these individuals were, it’s really not going to affect the quarantine group at all,” Stearns said. “We’re very fortunate that the group of players who could potentially be on a postseason roster for us aren’t interacting all that much with the individuals that tested positive.”