We have almost come to expect that the Nats will score a touchdown each game, and after being shutout last night there seemed to be some fan panic. The Nats made quick work of any talk of an offensive stall tonight as they put 5 runs on the board in the first inning. We all hoped the Nationals bats would get going, and they did tonight. The one guy who had the big offensive night last night had a frustrating night tonight as Trea Turner‘s on-base streak ended with a tough 0-5, but Anthony Rendon, Juan Soto, Asdrubal Cabrera, Brian Dozier, and Kurt Suzuki picked him up and combined for 12 of the Nats 13 hits and all 8 runs knocked in. In football parlance, the Nats got their touchdown scored on offense plus a 2-point conversion which equals the eight runs they had in this decisive 8-4 win. The offensive star in this game was Suzuki who hit a towering home run and knocked in 4 runs, and was solid behind the plate. It was a resurgent game for Suzuki who had struggled recently.
Ace starter, Max Scherzer, was in his second start after returning from the 10-day IL, and he exited in the middle of the 5th inning at 89 pitches (58 strikes) and 2 earned runs. The plan was for a 90 pitch outing as the Nats ace builds up arm strength. Scherzer also notched his 200th strikeout of the season in this game, and his ERA is at 2.46.
Impressive Max Scherzer stats with 200 strikeouts in 8 consecutive seasons, the 2nd-longest streak in MLB history, per @EliasSports:
1. Tom Seaver (NYM) 9, 1968-1976
2. Max Scherzer (WSH) 8, 2012-Pres.
T3. Roger Clemens (BOS) 7, 1986-1992
T3. Walter Johnson (WSH) 7, 1910-1916
— Talk Nats ⚾ (@TalkNats2) August 29, 2019
Scherzer is still building back his stamina had eight strikeouts on the night, and his fastball velo stayed around 94 mph which is what you want to see.
“He gave us what he had,” manager Davey Martinez said. “I thought towards the end he was getting a little tired, but that’s just part of building him back up.”
The only downer in this game besides Trea Turner‘s hitless night was that Adam Eaton got plunked in the first inning near his knee and was pulled from the game. They did x-rays which were negative, and he will be day-to-day. As Eaton exited the game, he limped as he headed back to the dugout and into the clubhouse.
“It was literally the worst spot,” Eaton said. “If it’s lower, it gets more meat. If it’s higher, hits me on my knee. That’s fine, doesn’t hurt. Kind of the worst spot to hit me, but I’ll be fine. Tomorrow’s an off-day.”
The Nats defense made some big plays behind their pitchers like the nifty diving stop by Rendon that became the front end of a doubleplay which erased any trouble with the two baserunners that Scherzer left behind when he exited in the 5th inning. With Asdrubal Cabrera in his second start at first base, he made a nice scoop on a throw from Turner that finished off a play that his shortstop made ranging behind second base.
With this win, the Nats have 30 games remaining in the regular season, and the math is now fun to play with to project the different combinations of how the final 30 game sprint will go. Currently, the Nats are 16 games over .500 at a 74-58 record. The Nats just need to go 16-14 the rest of the way to get to 90 wins, and of course they want to exceed those numbers. They would like to go 25-5 to get to 99 wins to set a new Nationals record. Mostly, they still want to win the NL East title. The Nats have now won 13 of their last 16 games. Who knows where this all will finish — enjoy the ride!