The Nationals got what they needed out of Max Scherzer over four innings as a building block outing, and he exited at 4.0 IP 71 PC 1 ER 4 H 1 BB 3 K for his final line. This was Scherzer’s first outing since July 25th and exactly four weeks since he pitched in a Major League game. He will continue to build up arm strength and improve with each start.
“Right now I feel good,” Scherzer said. “Hopefully I wake up tomorrow, and I feel good.”
The Nats took a 2-1 lead all the way to the 8th inning when Howie Kendrick blasted a 2-run home run to blow the game open en route to a 7-1 win and a series win in Pittsburgh while taking three of the four games. Hunter Strickland pitched a tough 2.0 innings of scoreless baseball, and Wander Suero had 1.0 scoreless inning while it was a one run game. The rest was easy as Fernando Rodney and Javy Guerra closed it out with a large lead. The Nationals earned their 70th win of the season, and they went to a high mark on the season of 13 games over .500.
The key of course as Scherzer said is how he feels tomorrow when he wakes up. With Max throwing well enough to never relinquish the lead he had, it was up to the Nats bullpen and his offense to maintain the lead which they did. The Nationals got off to a quick 2-0 lead thanks to hits to start the game by Trea Turner, Adam Eaton and Anthony Rendon, but the Nats could not take advantage of anything else offensively to score runs until the 8th inning via Kendrick’s home run and the subsequent piling on to get five additional runs.
“[Scherzer] was a little gassed, which we figured he would be,” Martinez said. “But his intensity was like always. He got through it. And hopefully tomorrow he wakes up, and he’s well recovered and we move forward.”
Perhaps the biggest news of the night was an Associated Press report that the NY Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Nationals in their MASN lawsuit with an award of $296.8 million due. There was not a lot of details disclosed, and here is what ESPN wrote.
All in all, one of the best days in Nationals history with all of this encouraging news. The Nationals now will head on their Delta charter shortly and fly to Chicago where they have an early afternoon game. MASN TV analyst FP Santangelo went on a long rant in the postgame show about the Pirates unwillingness to set an early getaway time as a courtesy to the Nats who have to travel for an afternoon game while the Pirates will play at home tomorrow evening.
“The turnaround in the day game after the night game with travel tonight is really unfair to these players if you want to know the truth,” Santangelo said. “They have to hit a 100 mile per hour fastball tomorrow on about five or six hours of sleep and go to Wrigley Field. You’re hoping adrenaline takes over. The second game — the Saturday game may be tougher than tomorrow.”
There are plenty of thoughts on the late night travel and early start time on Friday from a Santangelo who is a former player, and he will be traveling on the team jet. It is what it is, but MLB and MLBPA cannot allow this to happen in the next negotiations to the CBA. The Cubs traditionally play Friday games after 1pm local time.