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Scherzer’s relatively off-night against Blue Jays

Jun 3, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT

Jun 2, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) reacts as Toronto Blue Jays center fielder Kevin Pillar (right) rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run during the second inning in game two of a double header at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

In Tuesday night’s loss to the Toronto Blue Jays, Nats starter Max Scherzer allowed four runs through six innings on six hits. On some nights, that would be enough for a win for the Nationals, a team that ranks in the top five in the majors in runs scored.

But it wasn’t enough on this particular night, as for Scherzer’s standards he was off. He took the loss as the Nationals fell 7-3, but the outing in some ways illustrated exactly how good he has been so far this season.

Before Tuesday night, Scherzer had allowed more than one earned run just twice in 10 outings. To see him show even the slightest of cracks is unusual.

“The guy has just been unbelievable for us,” Tyler Moore said. “He just turns it on whenever he needs to. When he gives up a hit, you’re like ‘how did he do that?’ He’s just a really good pitcher.”

“It was a little bit different tonight,” manager Matt Williams said. “He’s not going to be perfect every time out.”

Scherzer’s kryptonite on Tuesday was 26-year-old outfielder Kevin Pillar, a former 32nd round pick. A three-year pro, Pillar hit his eighth and ninth career homers off Scherzer on Tuesday.

Pillar’s first homer was a solo shot in the second inning. His second was much more damaging, as it drove in three runs and handed the Blue Jays a 4-3 lead in the top of the sixth.

After allowing the first homer to Pillar – and a single to him in the fourth – Scherzer served up consecutive sliders in the third matchup. He left one of them up and Pillar smacked it over the fence in left field.

“Unfortunately I hung a slider in that situation and he made me pay,” Scherzer explained. “I still think that was the right pitch, I just didn’t execute it. That’s the stuff that leaves you frustrated. I’m not going to second-guess myself on the pitch selection, it’s just the execution of it.”

That one pitch, in a 1-1 count, made the difference. The Blue Jays later tacked on three more runs against the Nats’ bullpen and held on for the win.

Scherzer lamented the one big mistake, but plans to shrug it off and move on as soon as he can.

“You can’t be perfect out there,” Scherzer said. “No matter what, you always have to flush it out and look at the positives. You’re going to have things to work on even when you have good starts. This is just one game that I got beat. You just go back out there with the mentality that you’re going to win the next one. I’m looking forward to getting back to work.”

  1. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 3, 2015 at 10:06 AM

    Scherzer laboured in the 6th but one play changed the inning and that was the non-catch by Bryce that kept the inning going.

    Lousy pitch on the 3 run HR by Max. Bad idea to come inside again.

  2. Hiram Hover - Jun 3, 2015 at 10:08 AM

    …a team that ranks in the top five in the majors in runs scored.

    Actually, as of this morning, they rank 6th in MLB (3d in NL).

    But the bigger problem with that statement is that it doesn’t reflect recent performance. Over the last 14 days, the Nats have scored the fewest runs of any team in the NL.

  3. nats106 - Jun 3, 2015 at 10:09 AM

    No chocolate syrup for you!.

    Last night’s game reminded me of April. Cold, damp, and finished flat and with a loss. That 2nd HR for Pillar was coming right at me and just fell short. Would have been my 5th HR ball there in the last 3 years.

    For the life of me, I don’t understand why people call to throw the ball back on the field. If nothing else, give it to a kid who is rooting for the other team.

    Let’s get through DC Spring interrupted and back to hot weather so the team can get hot as well.

    Someone mentioned in an earlier post that the game was on Scherzer’s shoulders given the starting lineup. Can’t disagree with 2/3 of the OF, !B and C positions manned by reserves. For once I have no worries about the loss. Did Desmond get the golden sombrero that I predicted? I left before his 4th AB.

    • Doc - Jun 3, 2015 at 10:19 AM

      Yes nat106, Desi is now the proud owner of a new large hat. One that he refuses to wear.

      • nats128 - Jun 3, 2015 at 10:30 AM

        nats106, I was there last night also. Why in the world were they coming back inside on Pillar where he hit the 1st HR? The chart is up and out or you pound him down and in or down and away. The one corner you don’t pitch him on is up and in where he will jerk it out for a pulled down-the-line HR.


      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 3, 2015 at 10:44 AM

        Your chart didn’t copy over. Yes, his Slugging chart is hit all corners except up and in.

    • nats128 - Jun 3, 2015 at 10:34 AM

      “Someone mentioned in an earlier post that the game was on Scherzer’s shoulders given the starting lineup. Can’t disagree with 2/3 of the OF, !B and C positions manned by reserves. ”

      I can disagree with this. Until Werth comes back, 1/3 of the outfield will be reserves and all of them right now rank above Werth in OPS and defensive UZR so that is a upgrade.

      Moore over RZ at 1st according to OPS+ and OPS is a offensive upgrade.

      Downgrades were missing Span and Ramos. Lobaton with that unexplainable throw to Desi that sailed over his head that allowed the steal of home cant happen. That pushed it to a 4 run lead.

      • nats106 - Jun 3, 2015 at 12:45 PM

        Nats 128, I see your point, but as I watch Robinson in LF, I can’t help but get nervous. I was a bit surprised they didn’t have him at first and Mary Tyler Moore in Left. While I felt Moore originally looked awkward in the OF, he clearly had worked hard and improved since 2012. Robinson is like having Morse back out there without the fun walk up songs. I thought he was a corner guy anyway.

      • nats128 - Jun 3, 2015 at 1:11 PM

        Hard to argue that. Clint Robinson will only get to whats hit to him in close proximity and even then it looks like the wind blew it in his jagged route

  4. rlndtln - Jun 3, 2015 at 10:37 AM

    Imagine next year without JZIM,Span,Fister and yes Desi.We had our chances in 12 and 14.It will be a long time before the World Series here.

    • Hiram Hover - Jun 3, 2015 at 10:45 AM

      Thanks, Eeyore.

      • nats128 - Jun 3, 2015 at 10:53 AM

        Such negativity before noon. None of those players are gone and JZ and Span seem very much needed longterm and we will have to trust in Rizzo to keep fielding competitive teams.

  5. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 3, 2015 at 10:42 AM

    Scherzer and Lobaton game planned on the the top and heart of the lineup and forgot about Pillar who was batting 8th and they had little familiarity with him, BUT WHY would you try to go back to up and in after he yanked out that first HR in that spot?

    • nats128 - Jun 3, 2015 at 10:47 AM

      I called Pillar a month ago the human highlight reel. He was making Web Gems on a nightly basis and last night he wasnt afraid of Scherzer. He was looking for a ball to pull and Scherzer/Lobaton not once, but twice challenged him and that was the killer even without the hiccup in the 7th inning.

      • nats106 - Jun 3, 2015 at 12:38 PM

        Yeah, with all those big bats in the Blue Jays lineup they just weren’t expecting it from a #8 guy, and then it seems like they didn’t believe after he did it once. He crushed both of those balls.

  6. scnatsfan - Jun 3, 2015 at 10:46 AM

    I’ll miss Desi next year but I won’t miss watching him swing for the fences every at bat, never learning a thing

    • nats128 - Jun 3, 2015 at 10:51 AM

      I dont mind it when hes driving in 90 runs and stealing 20 bases and hitting 20 HRs like he did last year. That was always part of what Desi is and never to change. Problem as I see it is how far he is away from getting back to his previous year OPS average of .750 for his career.

      People keep saying RZ will get back to his career numbers and my fear is RZ, Werth and Desi all seem zapped of there power.

      • scnatsfan - Jun 3, 2015 at 11:22 AM

        My problem is when he is 0-3 with 3 KS, has 2 strikes and all we need him to do is make contact or we need him to move a runner along he still swings to put the ball in the Capital parking lot. Sure when he connects we love him but that hasn’t been the story this year.

      • nats128 - Jun 3, 2015 at 11:24 AM

        Its frustrating and thats Desi. Im not happy with him now becuz he isnt close to playing well which magnifies the Ks.

        Having Desi, Espi and Taylor in the same lineup is like a guaranteed 5 Ks per game.

      • ITGSOT - Jun 3, 2015 at 11:32 AM

        That’s not fair to Espinosa. Last night Desi and Michael “K, it rhymes with AAAA” Taylor had seven between them, Espi had but one. The only strikeouts Estrada had were Desmond and Taylor.

  7. mnmindc - Jun 3, 2015 at 11:12 AM

    Have we heard who’s pitching Saturday? I’m assuming AJ Cole mostly because I can’t think of anyone else.

    And have we heard who’s pitching Sunday? It could be either JZ or Max…

    • nats128 - Jun 3, 2015 at 11:22 AM

      Either AJ Cole or Taylor Hill.

      • mnmindc - Jun 3, 2015 at 2:03 PM

        Thanks 128

  8. naterialguy - Jun 3, 2015 at 11:12 AM

    If we have a team I’m happy
    If we win more than half our games I’m very happy
    If we advance to the playoffs I am ecstatic
    beyond that…….I just don’t know what I’d do
    The great thing about our team is that every stage we go through is a new learning experience as a fan. We will now learn what it will be like to transition as a team after years of growing as a team. I feel good about our chances in that we seem to have a good solid strategy and management structure in place to build and maintain a team the right way.

    Go Nats.
    “The sun will come out tomorrow”

    • natsjackinfl - Jun 3, 2015 at 11:15 AM

      +1. Nailed it!

    • nats128 - Jun 3, 2015 at 11:21 AM

      Nicely said. The people that constantly want to come on here and be total buzzkills like NattyGoat/SWM in particular and the Oreo fans are just not happy with themselves.

      Im not saying dont critique or analyze but if your not a glass half full person I have no place for you.

  9. Doc - Jun 3, 2015 at 12:02 PM

    Bullpen solution: Trade anything that is not nailed down for Cinci’s Chapman. Drew one night, Chapman the next.

    Probably a useless idea. Nats’ problem is in middle relief. We still wouldn’t be able to get to the good guys, with Barrett and Treinen still letting the heavens erupt with run showers.

    • lplipty - Jun 3, 2015 at 12:41 PM


  10. ArVAFan - Jun 3, 2015 at 12:36 PM

    Re: PTBNL. San Diego fan trying to figures out nine devious ways to keep him. My favorite: send Justin Upton instead (on the basis that we need a left fielder NOW).


    • nats128 - Jun 3, 2015 at 1:13 PM

      Thats good stuff

    • letswin3 - Jun 3, 2015 at 4:38 PM

      Funny. That guy’s a good writer.





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