In the bigger picture, last night was just one of those losses in a season where the Nats will lose at least 50 more games to be realistic. There is no way a baseball team will achieve a winning % like the Golden State Warriors achieved this year.
The philosophical question is, did we learn anything from last night? Max Scherzer said he did.
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) April 26, 2016
We can’t rewind the game and start over. There are no do overs. When Max Scherzer takes the mound in 5 days against the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday, what will he do differently? Scherzer blamed his fastball command for last night.
“Everything is not broke,” Scherzer said in his post-game interview. “This isn’t a time where you just beat everything around and throw your glove around. The pitches are there. It’s just a little fine-tuning. That’s the difference between dominance and being average at this level. It can be that fine of a difference. In Miami, my top half wasn’t finishing through the pitch, and tonight it was. So from a mechanical standpoint, my body’s working. Now I just gotta get the arm to fire through the release point and get extension towards home plate. It looks like it’s just cutting off a few inches, and those few inches matter.”
With as bad as things looked with a 2-0 lead after the 2nd batter Andres Blanco hit a home run following a 4 pitch walk to start the game, Scherzer made some in-game adjustments and with all considered, he kept his team in the game and departed with a 3-3 tie.
This takes you back to sometimes you’re not as good as you look when you’re winning and not as bad as when you’re losing. It was the rest of Scherzer’s teammates responsibility to find a way to win, and there was plenty of blame to go around. The Nats were getting on base all night. Michael Taylor was on base 3 times. Rendon 1 time. Harper 4 times. Zimmerman 1 time. Murphy 2 times. Werth 0 times. Espinosa 0 times. Lobaton 0 times. Scherzer’s 9 hole got on base 1 time which was a Scherzer single. Add that up to 12 times on base to score 3 runs means 9 men left on base with multiple chances. With those 9 men left on base, there were 7 times runners were in scoring position in those opportunities.
Ryan Zimmerman left 5 men on base. Anthony Rendon left 4 men on base. The middle of the order cannot rely on Bryce Harper to hit home runs every night. Bryce had 1 RISP spot and he singled home a run.
The Nats defense came through big all night with a great play at the plate by Zimmerman coming home on a grounder and Rendon with multiple plays including this gem: http://m.mlb.com/video/v629512083/?game_pk=447172
On another key defensive play, this is how the winning run scored as you will see the photo below. You are always taught that the best way to field a ball is to square up. Michael Taylor did not get back to the wall and square up, and he did not catch this ball. Also, Bryce Harper is nowhere to be seen as nobody was backing up Taylor as the ball came off of the wall.
Now watch from the night before an almost identical play by Denard Span working the wall and how he turns before the wall to square up.
This loss can’t be put on Max Scherzer. He gutted it out, and left in a tie game. Sometimes a loss comes down to fundamentals and doing the little things.
Before last night’s game we shared this graphic on RISP hitting.
Bryce Harper was on base 4 times last night, and nobody brought him around to score a run.
Most of the questions centered around Scherzer in the post-game.
Dusty Baker was asked about Scherzer physically, “I don’t have anything to compare to…I’m relatively new here. I’ve seen [Scherzer] pitch half a dozen times.”