Max Scherzer
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Video: Max Scherzer adds to Nationals’ impressive postseason feat

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One day after Aníbal Sánchez tossed 7 2/3 no-hit innings against the Cardinals, NLCS Game 2 starter Max Scherzer took his own no-hit attempt into the seventh inning. Washington’s ace wasn’t quite as economical with his pitches as his teammate had been; he ran up a pitch count of 92 while holding St. Louis to two walks and 11 strikeouts through six frames. In the top of the seventh, Paul Goldschmidt led off with a single that just missed the glove of Juan Soto in left field, spoiling Scherzer’s bid to become the first Nationals pitcher with a postseason no-hitter.

Even without the satisfaction of completing the no-hitter, the right-hander’s pristine outing gave him another entry in the postseason record books. Per ESPN Stats & Info, Scherzer and Sánchez are the only two pitchers that have held the same team hitless through 5+ innings in back-to-back games — a feat they completed not once, but twice, as they no-hit the Red Sox through five innings in Games 1 and 2 of the 2013 ALCS and did the same to the Cardinals in the first two games of the 2019 NLCS.

Had Scherzer pulled off the no-no — a highly improbable outcome given his high pitch count — it would have been the third of his career and the first since 2015, when he threw two no-hitters against the Pirates and Mets in June and October, respectively.

Angels’ Andrelton Simmons opts out of final 5 games

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shortstop Andrelton Simmons has opted out of the remainder of the Los Angeles Angels’ season.

The Angels announced the four-time Gold Glove-winning shortstop’s decision Tuesday before they faced the San Diego Padres.

Los Angeles (24-31) is still technically in the playoff race with five games left in the regular season, and Simmons clearly caught the Angels by surprise, although the club said it respected his decision.

The 31-year-old Simmons, who can be a free agent this winter, is finishing his fifth year with the Angels. After spraining his ankle in late July and missing 22 games, Simmons is currently batting .297 with 10 RBIs while playing his usual stellar defense, albeit with four errors in 30 games.

“At this time, I feel this is the best decision for me and my family,” Simmons said in a statement. “We don’t know what the future holds, but we would like to sincerely thank the Angels organization and Angels fans for welcoming and making us feel at home.”

Manager Joe Maddon acknowledged he was caught by surprise when general manager Billy Eppler told him about Simmons’ decision Monday night after Simmons went 1 for 4 with an RBI single in the Angels’ home finale. Maddon texted Simmons, but hadn’t heard back by Tuesday afternoon.

“I’ve really enjoyed this guy a lot,” Maddon said. “I’m a big fan. This guy is a good baseball player, and I’ve enjoyed the conversations, too. It’s just unfortunate. He’s really a big part of what we’re doing right now.”

Simmons is a favorite of Angels fans for his defensive wizardry, and owner Arte Moreno has described Simmons as perhaps his favorite player to watch on the roster. Simmons has batted .281 with 36 homers and 281 RBIs during his five seasons with Los Angeles, and he won the Gold Glove in 2017 and 2018.

“He’s a thinking kind of a player, and I’ve enjoyed him a lot,” Maddon said.

Simmons will be a free agent this winter, and the Angels have an obvious replacement for him in David Fletcher, who has a .374 on-base percentage while regularly hitting leadoff for the Angels during his breakout major league season. Fletcher has been playing second base since Simmons’ return from injury.

But the Angels haven’t publicly closed the door on Simmons’ return, and he could be given a qualifying offer. Maddon has repeatedly said he would like Simmons to return in 2021 if possible.

The Angels haven’t had a winning season during Simmons’ five years in Anaheim, although Simmons said last week he wasn’t discouraged by the lack of team success. Simmons played his first four major league seasons in Atlanta, and he hasn’t appeared in the postseason since 2013.

Simmons also said he hadn’t been involved in any recent contract talks with the Angels, but he had enjoyed playing for the club. When asked if he wanted to return to the Halos, Simmons said he would have to “plead the fifth.”