It seems like a long time ago that Max Scherzer taking the mound was a case study in pitching virtuosity. It wasn’t that he was pitching like an Ace. He was redefining what that meant.
“The Milwaukee Game” may go down as one of the best pitching performances ever. Nothing was hit hard including the sole base hit barely over Anthony Rendon’s glove. The No-hitter was the first letdown no-no in memory. With two outs an obscure player leaned into a ball and destroyed a perfect game. Flowers in full bloom don’t stay that way for long. Max’s season has come down to earth with a distinct thud. That would be the sounds of home runs leaving the premises in abundance. Max has given up 20 homers, more than the 18 in both of the last two seasons. His record is 11-11. If someone had told you that back in early July would you have believed it?
Tonight he squares off against Michael Wacha. He had his own No-hitter bid broken up by Ryan Zimmerman on a weak grounder to Pete (Insert favorite expletive) Kozma at the last minute. Since then he’s had a good long DL stint. But, he has returned to form pitching to a gaudy 15-4 with 20 less innings than Sherzer. Wacha threw 100 pitches in 6 innings last Friday. 58% were fastballs moving up to 98 mph; 28% Changeups; 13% Curve Balls; and 3% Cutters.
With Wainwright gone for the year, Wacha has emerged as the staff leader. This matchup is no bargain for the Nats. But, as recent and near-recent history has reiterated, the real game starts after the Seventh-Inning Stretch. Barring a sudden turn in fortune, this will be the last visit to the Nats House of Horrors known as Busch Stadium this year. Proof positive that there is always a silver lining lying around somewhere.
Some have asked why the lefty Lyons is replacing Wacha similar to last night with Gonzalez replacing Carlos Martinez and while they said last night Martinez had a sore back/neck, tonight we get this explanation from St. Louis beat writer Derrick Goold that this is a “sub”:
Wacha sitting today connected to results of last night. Potential does exist for Lyons to be a sixth man in rotation and sub in again.
— Derrick Goold (@dgoold) September 2, 2015
From the Nats official Twitter we get the Brady Bunch starting 9 photo grid.
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 2, 2015
Lineup looks familiar and as some speculated, no Espinosa for 2nd and Rendon for 3rd.
- Werth LF
- Rendon 2B
- Bryce RF
- RZ 1B
- Esco 3B
- Desi SS
- Ramos C
- MAT CF
- Scherz P