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Stock Watch: Scherzer’s masterpiece tops the week

Jun 24, 2015, 1:06 PM EDT

Jun 20, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) and catcher Wilson Ramos (40) celebrate after the final out of a no hitter against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Nationals Park. The Nationals won 6 - 0. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-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: 4-2

Team slash: .300/.333/.405

Team ERA: 2.00

Runs per game: 4.16



Max Scherzer, SP: 9 IP/ 0 H/ 10 K/ 0.00 ERA 

There was no way that Scherzer was going to be able to top his magnificent one-hit shutout of the Brewers last Sunday, right? Wrong, apparently, because all he did was go out in his very next start and make history last weekend at Nats Park. Dominating a pretty good Pirates lineup, the 30-year-old ace hurled the second no-hitter in club history in front of a sold out crowd. Were it not for Jose Tabata taking an inside slider to the elbow (something Nats fans are still steamed about), we’d probably be talking about a perfect game. But, alas, Scherzer had to “settle” for the no-no, a problem most starting pitchers would love to have. With his latest performance, you could easily make the fact that he’s just turned the best back-to-back starts in baseball history. And given the way he’s going these days, this may not be his last no-hit bid we see from him this season.

Stephen Strasburg, SP:  1-0/ 0.00 ERA/ 5 K

Whatever Strasburg did to address the early-season struggles during his time off, it certainly showed in his first start back from the disabled list. The right hander looked like a completely different pitcher Tuesday night against the Braves, and in doing so provided the Nats with hope that he might be able to turn his season around. He only went five innings, but he looked about as crisp as he has all season long. His fastball touched 98 mph at times, and his command was much improved. If this is the new Strasburg (who, by the way, looked a lot like the old Strasburg), then the Nats rotation is in pretty good shape moving forward.

Yunel Escobar, 3B: .364 AVG/ HR/ 5 RBI 

Maybe a change of scenery did Escobar some good, because he’s quietly having one of the best seasons of his career in his first year in D.C. He’s hitting .325 and is on pace for 59 RBI, which would be the most he’s had in a season since 2009. It probably doesn’t hurt that he’s hitting atop one of the better lineups in the NL, but Escobar has yet to go through a prolonged slump at any point of the season. Who’d have guessed that at the beginning of the year?



Doug Fister, SP: 0-1/ 8.44 ERA

With four straight good outings by Nats’ starters, it’s east to forget that the last time one of them struggled was late last week vs. the Rays. To be fair, that was Fister’s first start back from the DL, but his results were eerily similar to earlier in the season; he allowed five runs on nine hits in just over five innings of work. It was the fourth time in eight starts that he allowed five or more runs. At some point, the Nats a need Fister to recapture his 2014 form. If he can, then this staff might finally be able to live up to all the preseason hype.

  1. scnatsfan - Jun 24, 2015 at 1:26 PM

    For those who poo poo the Nats medical staff

    “Aoki’s injury actually occurred on Saturday night in Los Angeles when Aoki was hit by a pitch from Dodgers righty Carlos Frias, but initial tests didn’t reveal the fracture.” per

    • Section 222 - Jun 24, 2015 at 1:34 PM

      Just because other teams miss injuries doesn’t mean our team should be excused. I will continue to poo poo the Nats medical staff. If Giants fans don’t want to poo poo theirs, that’s their right.

      • therealjohnc - Jun 24, 2015 at 1:49 PM

        Perhaps it’s because medical science isn’t infallible, that there are limits to what the tests can show at any particular time, and that the Doctors are competent diligent professionals doing yeoman work in light of these limitations.


      • Section 222 - Jun 24, 2015 at 2:54 PM

        Tell that to Jesus Flores.

      • bowdenball - Jun 24, 2015 at 2:39 PM

        It not just that other team misses injuries. It’s that every team misses injuries. It’s impossible to avoid. MRIs and physical exams have limitations.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Jun 24, 2015 at 4:19 PM

        I would pooh-pooh anybody who poo poos around medical procedures. It’s just not sanitary.

      • Section 222 - Jun 24, 2015 at 5:08 PM


  2. Ellie - Jun 24, 2015 at 1:35 PM

    I think you’re being a little hard on Fister. ‘Five runs and nine hits in just over five innings of work’ doesn’t take into account that four of the hits and four of the runs were in his final inning of work. Prior to that, one run on five hits in five innings is not a bad start at all.

    He just kind of ran out of gas in the sixth inning, probably because he was just off the DL. He’ll probably be able to go deeper in his next start without much of an issue.

    • veejh - Jun 24, 2015 at 1:41 PM

      MW ran him out there for the 6th after you could tell that he was clearly gassed at the end of the 5th. Great job Matt.

      • therealjohnc - Jun 24, 2015 at 2:02 PM

        Wait, what? My recollection was that the 5th inning was one of Fister’s best innings. So I went back and looked, and Fister threw a 1-2-3 inning on just 13 pitches, getting a grounder to third, a strikeout and a fly ball to LF. It was his second lowest pitch count inning (other than the third, a six pitch inning that generated a lineout and two ground outs).

        Because Fister was just coming off the DL it would have been understandable if they had gotten someone up at the beginning of the 6th – just in case – but to hook Fister after five innings (75 pitches) while pitching a five hitter and only giving up one run?

        Meh. The commentariat would have roasted him if he’d hooked Fister there and the bullpen imploded (and remember the bullpen was not in a very good place at that time).

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 24, 2015 at 3:02 PM

        He was gassed in the 6th and hit the wall quickly.

      • therealjohnc - Jun 24, 2015 at 5:22 PM

        Oh, agreed he hit the wall quickly in the 6th. I was quibbling with the “clearly gassed at the end of the 5th” comment. Fister actually had a pretty good inning in the 5th, it just all went South very quickly in the 6th.

  3. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 24, 2015 at 3:06 PM

    Nate Karma and Marco Estrada faced off today in the battle of ex-Nats. Both pitched shutouts in a 0-0 game and Estrada had a Perfecto broken up in the 8th on an infield hit that was challenged.

    That’s 2 near no hitters for Estrada in the last week.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 24, 2015 at 3:07 PM

      Nate Karns*

      Great spellchecker

      • natsfan1a - Jun 24, 2015 at 4:42 PM

        Actually, I kinda liked that one. 🙂

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 24, 2015 at 5:13 PM

        Originally it was Mate Karma and I changed Mate to Nate and missed Karma but appropriate.

      • natsfan1a - Jun 24, 2015 at 6:04 PM

        Mate Karma is good, too.

    • masterfishkeeper - Jun 24, 2015 at 3:27 PM

      2 near no hitters and not even close to as good as Scherzer.





As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
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