Baseball proves so often that great pitching beats a hot hitting team, and Max Scherzer did that last night and Stephen Strasburg hopes to follow Scherzer’s lead in today’s game. Stras is having a solid season, and the team has him at a .700 win percentage that the fireballer is hoping to improve on today. Arizona had a recent 7-2 record until they ran into Scherzer last night. The Nationals have also been on their own hot streak recently. This four-game series is tied up at one game each, but the Diamondbacks are struggling at the back of their rotation as most expected as the D’Backs went into the off-season in rebuild mode as they lost their ace, Patrick Corbin, to free agency as he signed with the Nats and A.J. Pollock also moved on in free agency. In addition, their General Manager, Mike Hazen, traded away Paul Goldschmidt who was their best position player, and they netted back Carson Kelly in that swap. Kelly showed last night that he is a keeper.
The Diamondbacks start Taylor Clarke who grew up close to Nationals Park and starred at Broad Run High School in Loudoun County, Virginia. Clarke was 11-years-old when the Nationals came into existence, and he was a 3rd round draft pick by the D’Backs in 2015. Clarke went to Towson University in Maryland out of High School and when they looked to close their baseball program he finished up at the College of Charleston.
“My dream finally came true after all these years, ever since T-ball,” Clarke said. “It’s surreal that it finally came to fruition.”
Clarke has twin four-year-old sons Bryce and Brody, and he says they did not name their sons after a former Nats player or Ryan Zimmerman‘s former agent. But Clarke grew up going to Nats games with his parents, Pat and Noel, who will be in attendance today with dozens of other family and friends and his wife Taylor. Yes, Taylor Clarke’s wife is also named Taylor.
For those who know Clarke, they have seen him overcome a lot of adversity. He was born with partial facial paralysis, and has endured arm injuries including Tommy John surgery — yet, here he is at Nationals Park in his hometown during his rookie season. The righty has struggled to a 5.26 ERA and coming off of another rough start where he gave up 4-runs and pulled at 3 1/3 innings and 2 home runs against Philadelphia.
One thing about baseball is that the Nationals will not care about Clarke’s boyhood fandom or that he attended Strasburg games nine years ago. An “amped up” pitcher sometimes overthrows their pitches which will flatten the movement.
Today is also a bobblehead giveaway day of Sean Doolittle’s Star Wars-themed “Obi-Sean Kenobi” figurine with a removable hood that will be given to the first 10,000 fans who get through the turnstiles today at Nationals Park. Fans will line up early for this one!
Arizona Diamondbacks at Washington Nationals
Stadium: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
1st Pitch: 4:05 pm EDT
TV: MASN2, FOX Sports – Arizona, MLB.TV; FS1
Nats Radio: 106.7 FM The Fan; SiriusXM® ( Streaming Internet 869)
Line-up subject to change (without notice):