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Dodgers 5, Nats 0: Greinke bests Scherzer in duel of top pitchers

Jul 19, 2015, 4:49 PM EDT

USA Today

GAME IN A NUTSHELL: It was billed as a pitchers duel between the two best starters in baseball so far this season and it sure didn’t disappoint.

Both Max Scherzer and Zack Greinke were dominant on Sunday afternoon, but it was the Nats’ star right-hander who blinked first. Scherzer allowed Andre Ethier to score on a wild pitch in the fourth inning and that was all Greinke and the Dodgers would need on a sweltering day on South Capitol Street.

Greinke was a force all afternoon with a fastball that sat consistently around 94 miles per hour, up from his 91.3 average this season. He was also pinpoint accurate with several strikeouts secured on fastballs that just caught the outside edge of the plate. The Nats whiffed 11 total times against the former Cy Young-winner.

Scherzer escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first inning to put in a solid start overall. He did, however, allow his first walk in 39 2/3 innings, a streak that dated back to June 18.

The Nationals fell 5-0 to drop their first series of the second half and are now 49-41 on the season. They have lost five of their last eight overall.

The Nationals and Dodgers drew over 40,000 fans in each game during this series with 40,293 for the finale. Many of the fans were donned in costumes for Star Wars Day.

HITTING LOWLIGHT: It’s tough to fault a depleted Nationals’ lineup going up against Greinke, who finished the first half of the season with a 1.39 ERA to lead the majors and entered the day with 35 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings. But they couldn’t get much of anything going against the dominant right-hander, who continued tossing up zeros and playing mind tricks with a diverse arsenal of plus-pitches.

Greinke finished with eight scoreless innings and just three hits and a walk allowed. He struck out a season-high 11 strikeouts. Few Nats were able to get hard contact on any of his pitches, with only Yunel Escobar, Michael Taylor and Clint Robinson registering hits, all of which were singles.

Wilson Ramos and Ian Desmond went hitless once again. Ramos hasn’t recorded a hit in 12 consecutive at-bats and Desmond hasn’t landed one in 16 straight.

Greinke extended his scoreless innings streak to 43 2/3, the longest for any pitcher since Orel Hershiser (then with the Dodgers) who tossed 59 straight without allowing a run in 1988. Greinke just the third pitcher since 1900 to throw six straight scoreless starts in a single season.

PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: Though Scherzer took the loss, he turned in another excellent outing overall. The right-hander tossed six innings with a solo run allowed on seven hits, one walk and eight strikeouts. The only run he allowed came on a wild pitch with Alberto Callaspo at the plate. It scored Ethier from third, as Ramos’ throw to Scherzer at home sailed wide.

It amounts to a tough-luck loss for Scherzer, who is now 10-8 on the season. He lowered his ERA to 2.09 and moved to 138 innings pitched on the season. Opponents are hitting just .189 against him and his WHIP stands at 0.80. Somehow he has lost eight games, which gives credence to those who decry citing win-loss records when comparing pitchers.

Scherzer was replaced by wookiee – ahem, rookie – Felipe Rivero, who recorded two outs in the seventh. Aaron Barrett, Casey Janssen, Blake Treinen and Sammy Solis also pitched for the Nats. Treinen allowed the Dodgers’ other four runs on singles by Ethier, A.J. Ellis and Yasiel Puig in the top of the ninth.

KEY STAT: Greinke and Clayton Kershaw have combined to throw 63 2/3 straight scoreless innings, the equivalent of more than seven full games. They put up nearly clone efforts this weekend to combine for this line: 16 IP, 6 H, 0 R, BB, 25 SO.

UP NEXT: The Nationals continue their homesetand with a series against the NL East rival New York Mets. It won’t get any easier for the Nats’ lineup as the Mets have their menacing trio of Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard scheduled to start the three games.

  1. dcwx61 - Jul 19, 2015 at 4:55 PM

    Span and Rendon please come home

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 19, 2015 at 5:10 PM

      Jason Ryan Stephen… all of them

      • natsfan1a - Jul 19, 2015 at 5:21 PM

        Seconded, or thirded.

  2. nattygoats - Jul 19, 2015 at 4:55 PM

    I will be shocked if the Nats are in first place this time next week. And once again Blake Treinen proves he doesn’t belong at this level.

    • texnat1 - Jul 19, 2015 at 5:26 PM

      That’s because you aren’t a fan of the team.

      • nattygoats - Jul 19, 2015 at 5:36 PM

        Yes I am been to about 6 road games not including Baltimore. Have you? But I am also a realist.

      • tcostant - Jul 19, 2015 at 5:37 PM

        Rendon, Werth and Zimmerman are all playing rehab starts. They is hope.

      • philipd763 - Jul 19, 2015 at 7:09 PM

        When Werth and RZ return, they will be in spring training form while the pitchers are in mid season form! They won’t help much but I am more optimistic about Rendon.

  3. nattygoats - Jul 19, 2015 at 5:37 PM

    I watch every game hoping for a win. I used to expect a win. But I just can’t do it with this lineup

  4. nattygoats - Jul 19, 2015 at 5:38 PM

    Mets bullpen hopefully getting ready to poop it away.

  5. nattygoats - Jul 19, 2015 at 5:41 PM

    Yadier molina grounds into DP.

  6. Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 19, 2015 at 5:44 PM

    Regarding Mark’s tweet, I hope Anthony comes back… when he is absolutely ready. Yes the team needs him and everyone else but let’s not rush anyone back….

  7. natsfan1a - Jul 19, 2015 at 5:57 PM

    Go, Ca… Ahem, go, CAR… Eh, I can’t say it. Go, (team that wears a little red birdie). Just for right now. Okay, I’m done.

  8. npb99 - Jul 19, 2015 at 5:57 PM

    And speaking of hope, I hope the Mets extra inning slugfest with the Cards goes 20+ innings.

  9. senators5 - Jul 19, 2015 at 5:59 PM

    I wish I could be more positive, but I don’t see any massive upgrade when the fallen come back except a few more hits from Span and Rendon. I would not count on any any major contributions from Werth and RZ. as I believe their time has passed, especially with the bat speed issues RZ was having prior to his latest injury The pitching including the B-Pen is what it is, second behind the elite. and don’t forget that we play in the NL East. Right now I see us a distant third behind the Cards and the Dodgers., BUT I am still a huge Nats fan looking at the realities that confront this team. The future, I believe, looks good with excellent talent down on the farm.

    • senators69 - Jul 19, 2015 at 6:44 PM

      Agree

    • unkyd59 - Jul 19, 2015 at 6:56 PM

      Having Span and Rendon back will be a big deal, and while I don’t think we can reasonably hope for much in the way of power numbers from JW, I would not be surprised to see him shorten up, and spray base hits at a decent rate… Zim I’m not enthusiastic about for this year, but that orthotic might let him swing freely. I’m also not terribly encouraged that Span got the cortisone… What is it that’s inflamed, and why? They could all come back strong, or they could all have lost seasons…. Time will tell, but I’m hoping…..

  10. Karl Kolchak - Jul 19, 2015 at 6:03 PM

    Scherzer has 8 losses, yet it Greinke who had the nerve to whine about lack of run support earlier this year. I can’t even tip my my hat to a such a selfish playert. Just glad Rizzo wasn’t able to pull off the trade with KC that would have sent JZ there for him before the 2011 season.

  11. dcwx61 - Jul 19, 2015 at 6:09 PM

    From MZ!

    Would not be surprised if Anthony Rendon returns from the DL tomorrow, with Ryan Zimmerman joining him a couple days later.

  12. philipd763 - Jul 19, 2015 at 7:07 PM

    Scherzer has lost 8 games because the Nats offense is beyond awful! If an opponent pitches around Harper, there is no offense.

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