Behind Max Scherzer‘s good night on the mound, the Nats turned 10 hits into 12 runs. That is hard to do but add 4 walks and 2 Pittsburgh errors and some Nationals clutch hits and you got an efficient scoring assault tonight. The Nationals have now won 3-games in a row, and Lou Brown from the Major League II movie would tell you that is a winning streak.
The offensive star was Matt Adams who hit two monster home runs in the game. The scoring opened in the 3rd inning with a solo home run by Wilmer Difo who has been one of the Nats hottest hitters during this winning streak going 5-for-9 with 3 walks.
“We’ll let it ride for a couple of days,” Dave Martinez said about his experiment of batting Bryce Harper at the lead-off.
With Bryce Harper batting lead-off, he put the exclamation on the night with a booming oppo boppo home run to the back of the Pirates bullpen for 3 RBIs. It ends a 2 week drought for Harper who had no extra-base-hits in that time span.
“I think it all starts in that manager’s office every [game],” Bryce Harper said. “[Dave Martinez] believes in our team. He believes in us as a group, and we believe in him as well. He’s one of the best managers I’ve ever been around.”
During the tough times last week, there were whispers about a clubhouse that had some disagreement. Fingers were starting to point at the manager. Bryce Harper seemed to be crystal clear as to what he thinks about the manager.
For some of the other offense on this big night, Trea Turner cleared the bases with a 3-RBI double to push the score up further. Even Max Scherzer had an RBI RISP single.
Don’t look now, but the Nats best hitter is Matt Adams who went 3-for-4 and now batting .296 with a 1.027 OPS.
“I’m not trying to do too much with [the pitches],” Matt Adams said. “I’m seeing the ball where it’s pitched and putting a good swing on it. It feels good because everybody thinks I’m just a pull hitter. For me to be going this good and seeing the ball good, it feels pretty good.”
What has Matt Adams done recently? Ho hum, just batting .529 (9-for-17) in the last week with 3 crushed homers and 9 RBIs which includes that breakout game in San Francisco.
“We always knew he could hit right-handed pitching,” Davey Martinez said about Adams. “Since we got him, he’s an every day player. We’re fortunate to have him. We’ll try to find as much playing time as we can — he hits righties really well.”
With the large lead in the game (12-to-2), Max Scherzer was relieved at the 6 1/3 inning mark by Wander Suero who made his MLB debut. Suero was victimized by a doink hit then a double, but he held his own and got the next two batters out for a nice 7th inning for the rookie. Sammy Solis pitched a scoreless 8th inning, and then Carlos Torres took the 9th inning and gave up a 2-run home run to the pesky Max Moroff who is hitting .444 in Nats Park now.
Max Scherzer admitted he was fatigued last night. The last time he fatigued himself Max injured a hamstring and wasn’t ready to start the NLDS in game 1 or game 2. Most athletes strive to avoid fatiguing as it breaks down muscle at a greater rate than building up to your maximum effort. Scherzer only has four days between starts with no extra rest for his next start against the Phillies on Sunday. Many times going past your “red line” as some pitchers call it affects you more in subsequent appearances. Something to keep an eye out for.
The good news is the back of the Nats bullpen got to rest all night. “The Firm” got to watch the entire game from the bullpen as spectators.