If you did not stay up to see this game, you did not miss what looked like a possible Scherzer no-hitter, but you did miss a complete game Max Scherzer gem on 100 masterful pitches with 11 strikeouts and no walks. It should have been a shutout, but there was an outfield gaffe on what should have been the 3rd out which scored a run. Ryan Zimmerman provided all of the runs in the 1st inning with a 3-run home run. The game moved quickly compared to last night, and the game duration was as efficient as Scherzer’s pitching as it was over in 2 hours and 45 minutes.
“When [Max Scherzer] starts smelling the end of the game,” Matt Wieters said, “he’s better than anyone.”
Matt Wieters called a good game behind the plate including sliders in the dirt which he smothered and corralled allowing Max Scherzer to throw any pitch in any count.
“I think after the 7th [inning], I knew my pitch count was low,” Max Scherzer said. “I think the eighth, I kind of knew where I was in the order, knowing that … at any time they could pick a dogfight and really try to grind out some ABs. So I knew I at least had some pitches there for the 8th. But I got some early outs in the 8th, and that really saved the pitch count. So I was fresh, ready to go for the 9th and ready to give everything I’ve got in the 9th.”
Scherzer was in attack-mode all night. While the Giants had 5 hits on the night, it could have just as easily been zero if balls were hit a fraction sooner or later. A few of the hits were not struck hard and the first hit of the game was against a shift to the “5.5” hole that eluded Trea Turner by inches.
The Giants were so desperate for offense that Denard Span tried to bunt for a hit to start the 4th inning for the Giants. Brandon Belt’s double was questionable whether it went over the 1st base bag then the outfield gaffe happened between Michael Taylor and Jayson Werth that Dave Jageler wondered on the radio call who was taking charge. You could see an animated Dusty Baker in the dugout after the inning instructing centerfielder Michael Taylor that he must take charge. That gift double scored the Giants only run of the game. Watch the video here.
“The centerfielder just stood and watched…”, Jon Miller said on the Giants radio call. “The Giants just got a run that was a total gift.”
The Nationals hitters had their chances to add-on runs with 13 baserunners tonight. The offense was 1-9 in RISP situations, and the team left 9 men-on-base. Zimmerman’s 15th home run tonight matches the number of home runs he had for the entire 2016 season. Zimmerman is now at 44 RBIs and only needs 3 more to surpass his 2016 total.
The Nationals sweep this 3-game series against the San Francisco Giants and move to 14 games over .500 at 33-19. The Nationals lead in the NL East is at 9.5 after this win and a Mets loss.