Max Scherzer throws a 1-run 8-inning gem while redlining against the Reds!

The Nationals won this series in Cincinnati making it three series wins in a row and 7-wins in the team’s last 9 games. Scherzer pushed the pedal to the metal and redlined to 120 pitches of which 84 were strikes. He was at 104 pitches in the 7th inning with a 4-1 lead, and his manager, Dave Martinez, sent him out for the 8th inning. Was there any question? When Scherzer was at 117 pitches, his manager came to the mound, and Martinez did not pull Scherzer who seemed very animated with a few choice words for his manager. Scherzer stayed and struck-out Joey Votto on 3-pitches to complete his outing on that 15th strikeout.

The question is whether it was necessary for Scherzer to push himself to that level? Sometimes you win the battle and lose the war, and we just saw that with Patrick Corbin who pitched a dud on Friday after a complete game shutout pushed him to 116 pitches in his previous outing. Scherzer is certainly known as a workhorse but he is also 35-years-old in July. Based on the regular season schedule,  Scherzer should make 19 more starts. He lowered his ERA to 3.06 on the season with this one-run game.

“There was no denying he was going back out for the eighth [inning] that’s for sure,” manager Dave Martinez said. “He was very adamant about it. … We exchanged a few non-professional words.”

We wrote in the pre-game that a key to the game was scoring a team average amount of runs for Scherzer who has been deprived that in 10-of-his-12 starts, and Scherzer got 4-runs today which accomplished that as the team is averaging 4.63 runs per game. For the three-time Cy Young winning, the Nationals had scored just over 2 runs per game for Scherzer in 10 of his starts. Today the Nationals have won 3 of Max’s 13 starts now.

The offense got him a one-run lead after a Trea Turner lead-off single to open the game. Turner scored and gave Max that lead before he took the mound. The Nats added on a run and Scherzer game one back to take a 2-1 run to the top of the 8th inning when Brian Dozier had his biggest hit of the season and it was just an oppo single that scored two runs.

One of the stars of the game was catcher Kurt Suzuki who called a great game behind the plate and also knocked in the second run of the game. In the 8th inning, it appeared that the Reds pitched around Suzuki to get to Dozier who made them pay on his 2-run single.

“You just kind of put it on auto-pilot. Once Max gets going he knows what he wants to do. Everything he throws he executes,” Suzuki said.

Yesterday the Nationals scored all of their runs on home runs, and today it was on three RISP hits that stayed in the park, and the Nats had plenty of chances to score more runs. The team was 3-for-10 today in RISP spots, and it was just enough in this 4-1 win. The Nationals have a day-off tomorrow before they start a two-day series with the White Sox at Nationals Park on Tuesday.

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