Scherzer battles for the win; Trea steals; Doolittle saves; Zim 100th!

This time the Washington Nationals flipped the script on the Atlanta Braves and Luiz Gohara to earn the win for Max Scherzer. On this night, the Nationals held on to win 4-to-2 behind a trio of milestones.

It was a game of milestones in this Washington Nationals win. Max Scherzer became the 4th pitcher in MLB history to record 4 consecutive seasons striking out 250 batters. Ryan Zimmerman would drive in his 100th RBI of the season. Trea Turner stole two bases in the game to tie and surpass Alfonso Soriano‘s Washington Nationals’ single-season steal record which now stands at 42 for Turner who stole 3rd base uncontested then later in the game stole 2nd base uncontested. Soriano’s stolen-base record had stood for almost 12 seasons since 2006 when Soriano had his 40-40-40 season.

The Nationals offense woke up some tonight where all starters recorded at least one hit except for Wilmer Difo and Max Scherzer. One of the issues in the game with 5 doubles was the missed opportunities to move up batters to 3rd base when it was a no outs situation. The Nationals had 16 RISP opportunities and only cashed in 4-times and one of them was a “gift” hit that was originally scored an error on the Braves 3rd baseman.

The story of the night was once again Max Scherzer and the defense for him and this was similar to to his last start. Scherzer had a no-hitter into the 4th inning when Freddie Freeman popped-up a ball into shallow rightfield. Wilmer Difo went out for the ball while Jayson Werth came in for the ball and the baseball dropped in for a single. It should have been caught.

Freeman eventually scored the first run of the game, and Scherzer threw 24 pitches in the inning and certainly struggled. In the 5th inning, it started with a Scherzer walk of Lane Adams which was then followed by a Swanson double.  Scherzer would escape further damage, but he threw 23 pitches in the 5th inning to accumulate 89 pitches.

Scherzer’s outing could have comfortably ended in the 5th inning, but he came out for the 6th inning and was able to get through that inning on just 8 pitches. The usually disciplined Freddie Freeman swung at Scherzer’s first pitch outside of the zone and then got himself out swinging at a pitch above the zone on the 3rd pitch of the at-bat.

In the 7th inning, Scherzer got through that as he was “emptying the tank” and finished his outing on 112 pitches. His pitch chart shows a couple of “gift” strikes and some meatballs he was fortunate on, but also many wasted pitches that were nowhere near the zone. An undisciplined Braves team also swung at many pitches out of the zone to help Scherzer.

The game was closed out by Ryan Madson in the 8th inning for another “hold” and Sean Doolittle finished the game with his 19th save for the Nationals.

Bryce Harper played a “sim” game today and you can watch some highlights here while listening to the commentary.

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