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Stock Watch: Scherzer’s gem highlights the week

Jun 17, 2015, 12:14 PM EST

Jun 14, 2015; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer (31) celebrates with catcher Jose Lobaton (59) after pitching a complete game shutout against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. The Nationals won 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Each week this season, we’ll take the temperature of the Nationals roster to see whose stock is rising or falling.  

Record: 4-3

Team slash: .294/.361/.462

Team ERA: 4.35

Runs per game: 6.0

 

STOCK UP  

Max Scherzer, SP: 1-0/ 9.0 IP/ 0.00 ERA 

Is there anything Scherzer can’t do? After his latest outing on Sunday afternoon, that’s certainly a fair question. The Nats’ ace turned in not just his best start of the year, or the even the best of his career; he very well could have had the greatest pitching performance in franchise history. The numbers speak for themselves: Nine innings, no runs allowed and 16 strikeouts, including 27 swings-and-misses. Were it not for a meekly-hit opposite field single into shallow right by Brewers centerfielder Carlos Gomez, we’re probably talking about a no-hitter or perfect game. Scherzer was so dominant, so in command that Milwaukee hitters were clearly more and more flummoxed as the game wore on. From his fastball to his changeup to his slider, he had everything working to near perfection. Scherzer sports a 1.93 ERA and has an NL-best 113 strikeouts. So far, so good for the $210 million man.

Bryce Harper, RF: .500 AVG/ 2 HR/ 1.480 OPS 

Ho hum, just another appearance in this section for the NL’s leading vote-getter in the All-Star Game. While it may seem like he’s cooling off because he isn’t hitting as many long balls as he did last month, he’s still having a solid June; Harper’s hitting .417 with four home runs this month with a .525 on-base percentage. So while he’s not going to hit 13 homers every month like he did in May, he’s showing that his new-and-improved approach at the plate yields more than just power numbers.

Wilson Ramos, C:  3 HR/ 7 RBI/ 1.066 OPS 

Yes, Ramos compiled a lot of these numbers during Tuesday night’s drubbing of the Rays, but he’s had a pretty solid stretch recently. He has hits in seven of his last 10 games with four home runs and nine RBI. The offense is still looking for some consistency (Tuesday’s game aside), and Ramos heating up would be a good way to make the lineup more balanced to take the pressure off Harper.

 

STOCK DOWN  

Ian Desmond, SS: .115 AVG/ 14 K/ .294 OPS 

Desmond has gone through some dry spells before, but we’re not sure if we’ve seen him go through an albatross like this. In his last 10 games, he has just four hits and compiled 17 strikeouts. Ouch. It doesn’t seem like health is an issue, so it’s hard to pinpoint what exactly is the problem. Obviously, the over-arching themes for his season is that he’s in a contract year and is under pressure to perform to get big money in the offseason. Is the pressure getting to him? No one knows for sure, but right now he’s pressing and not resembling the player who won three straight Silver Sluggers.

Jordan Zimmermann, SP: 0-1/ 3.1 IP/ 16.20 ERA 

We mentioned last week that the Nats can’t afford to have Zimmermann go through a slump given the rest of the rotation’s inconsistency. Unfortunately for him, he turned in his second straight rough outing, allowing six earned runs to the lowly Brewers Friday night. In two starts, Zimmermann’s ERA has jumped from 2.88 to 3.74. This isn’t cause for concern just yet, but it has to be a bit troubling for Matt Williams that as of now he only has one starter in Scherzer he knows he can count on.

  1. nats128 - Jun 17, 2015 at 12:17 PM

    First hit then promptly steals 2nd.

    • ArVAFan - Jun 17, 2015 at 1:09 PM

      +1

      actually, hoping for + a whole bunch.

  2. ward5nedc - Jun 17, 2015 at 12:24 PM

    Clint Robinson?
    Too early to say stock up?

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 17, 2015 at 1:04 PM

      A solid week. Very relaxed after hitting that 1st HR of his career. He was close to the scrap heap 2 weeks ago. Things change quickly.

      • Bruxtun - Jun 17, 2015 at 1:09 PM

        I just like that swing of his. Looks very repeatable. Good batting eye last night too.

      • nats128 - Jun 17, 2015 at 1:15 PM

        Being relaxed helps. His swing throught the zone has looked like LaRoche when he was in a hot streak

  3. Mrsb loves the Nats - Jun 17, 2015 at 1:13 PM

    I wish J Ross could have gotten some type of honorable mention…

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 17, 2015 at 1:23 PM

      +1 and an honorable mention. He did to the Brewers what the previous starters couldn’t do and also I believe was the tablesetter to the masterpiece that Scherzer painted on Sunday.

  4. Mrsb loves the Nats - Jun 17, 2015 at 1:14 PM

    I’m hoping next week that Desi will be in the ‘Stock Up’ category…

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 17, 2015 at 1:26 PM

      I like those weeks when you can’t find a weak link.

  5. Bruxtun - Jun 17, 2015 at 1:24 PM

    Strasburg’s final line: 5IP, 4H, 2R (1 earned), 6K, 0BB, 71 pitches

    • adcwonk - Jun 17, 2015 at 1:26 PM

      Very nice!

      • jd - Jun 17, 2015 at 1:36 PM

        Next start likely in DC.

      • nats128 - Jun 17, 2015 at 2:02 PM

        That is a high pitch count in a AA game for a guy like Strasburg given a WHIP of 1.000 with 1 error. With no walks and only 4 hits and 1 error it sounds like a few batters must have fouled off a bunch of pitches after he got thru the 1st inning on 7 pitches.

        Good news is Turner got his 2nd hit and 2nd steal of the game and his 1st RBI

  6. nats128 - Jun 17, 2015 at 2:06 PM

    Fister is pitching on Thursday and Nats are off on Monday. Tuesday the Barves come to DC. Possibly Strasburg on Tuesday or do you have him work another Minor League start.

    I also liked Ghosts suggestion of keeping Joe Ross in the rotation for 1 more start to push Scherzer back for a extra days rest considering the workload on Sunday.

  7. Theophilus T.S. - Jun 17, 2015 at 3:07 PM

    I think we should just temporarily suspend trading in Desmond’s stock, pending further developments. He certainly has no place to go but up — and other than a couple of bleeders last night has not given any signals that something positive is ahead. Rooting for him to do something good leads only to frustration. His outlook of “I don’t know what’s wrong but I still have my confidence and I’m not going to change what I’m doing, and one of these days, everything will come together,” assures that his fate has been left in the hands of the gods of chance. The way baseball works, good things are likely to start happening, at least occasionally, even if he has no idea what he did to bring it about. We should invest our energy in praying for healing for the wounded and maturity for the inexperienced.

    I don’t want him traded or benched. I just want him to produce at somewhere near the level to which we have become accustomed. He’s not a bench player; if he’s traded it just weakens The Thin Red Line and, at this point, won’t pull much in return. Does anyone really think Turner is ready to take a regular turn (Turner/turn; almost a pun) in a major league lineup? Don’t we all think the Nats can win the NL East without a major contribution from Desmond?

    It’s time to stop beating him up, and stop beating ourselves up for having had so much confidence in him. Que sera, sera.

    • unkyd59 - Jun 17, 2015 at 4:01 PM

      The Tao of Theo…..😜

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