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Greinke follows Kershaw as Nats continue gauntlet of aces

Jul 19, 2015, 7:31 PM EST

USA Today

Less than 24 hours after Clayton Kershaw carved the Nationals up to the tune of 14 strikeouts across eight scoreless innings, right-hander Zack Greinke followed suit in a 5-0 shutout for the Los Angeles Dodgers on a heat-soaked Sunday afternoon at Nats Park.

Greinke had eight scoreless frames of his own to go along with a season-high 11 strikeouts. He allowed just three singles, just like his Cy Young-wielding counterpart did the day before.

On Sunday, the Nats had their own Cy Young-winning ace on the mound in Max Scherzer, and he was very good. The right-hander allowed just one run on a wild pitch through six innings. He lowered his ERA from 2.11 to 2.09, yet took his eighth loss of the season. The Nats, by the way, have scored only seven total runs in those games.

On this particular day Scherzer was excellent, but Greinke was even better.

“I thought I did pitch well. Giving up only one run is good but good is not good enough when you’re going up against Greinke and what he’s doing right now. He just completely shut us down. He was throwing the ball outstanding and I wasn’t able to match him,” Scherzer said.

“I love facing the best. Right now, he’s the best. He started the All-Star Game. I always enjoy facing the best. You want to go out there and compete with him and compete as hard as you can. I went out there and gave everything I got. I got beat today. He was better.”

Scherzer’s wild pitch came in the top of the fourth inning with Andre Ethier on third. Ethier led off with a double and was moved over on a sacrifice bunt by Yasmani Grandal.

Scherzer explained what happened with the pitch that sailed past Wilson Ramos and to the backstop:

“It was just a cutter that broke too far in. Just one of those things, I yanked it. I missed with it and that ended up costing me a crucial run at that point in the game.”

Scherzer was removed after 98 pitches with his spot due up second in the lineup before the bottom of the seventh inning. Manager Matt Williams noted both of those reasons and also the weather. The game was played with a first-pitch temperature of 93 degrees and humidity that brought the heat index upwards of 100.

Scherzer downplayed the heat as an excuse, not that he needed one in what was an overall solid outing. He did, however, note that he shortened his warmup before the game. The Nats were also originally supposed to wear their red jerseys before he asked the team to switch to the home whites.

The Nationals leave the weekend having lost two straight to some of the best pitchers in baseball. Kershaw and Greinke certainly do not make it easy for opposing lineups.

“With those guys you just have to get them in the strike zone and put a good swing on it and hope something good happens,” Clint Robinson said. “You can’t really go up there sitting on one particular pitch. Him and Kershaw don’t pitch to patterns. They kind of go with what they’re feeling that day. The past two days they have been feeling it all. They’ve had all their pitches working.”

That’s two marquee pitchers in two days with Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard of the Mets on their way to Washington this week. With an already-depleted lineup, the Nationals have had and will have their work cut out for them.

“What do you want us to do? You want us to just duck-tail and run? This is the big leagues, that’s part of it,” Robinson continued. “These guys are the best in the world for a reason. You just gotta go out there and rise up to the challenge.”

  1. Eugene in Oregon - Jul 19, 2015 at 8:13 PM

    Losing to the Dodgers’ two aces is nothing to be ashamed of. But the Nats will be facing some more good pitching in the coming series with the Mets. Like many, I’m hopeful that the return of some of the injured will prove a boost for the offense…and that they’ve gotten enough ABs in their rehab games to get their timing down. GYFNG!

  2. patrickthand - Jul 19, 2015 at 8:32 PM

    The Nationals cannot beat any halfway decent pitcher as long as they only have seven batters in the lineup. Desmond now is in an 0-17 slump. Although the Nats are a solid bunch and aren’t going to complain publicly, it must be bad for team morale to have Desmond dragging the team down. Storen and Espinosa were sent down to Syracuse when they were not performing at a Major League level. Why not Desmond?

    • natsnatsnatswoo - Jul 19, 2015 at 9:06 PM

      Since his 13 game hitting streak ended on May 30, Desmond is 18 for his last 144 (.125). His season batting average has gone from .260 to .206 in that time. You might say he’s in a bit of a slump. The question is, why is he still in the lineup day after day after day?

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 19, 2015 at 11:05 PM

        That’s easy… injuries.

        Yeah I know Uggla is still there but the organization seems Desi as better at SS while Espi is the 2nd baseman than Espi at DS and Uggla at 2nd base.

        I ain’t saying I disagree with you about him playing, but at this point it’s no point to conplain. Just hope to the baseball God’s that he finally starts contributing at the plate and stop being the black hole that he is right now.

    • adcwonk - Jul 19, 2015 at 10:45 PM

      The Nationals cannot beat any halfway decent pitcher as long as they only have seven batters in the lineup.

      Didn’t we beat Bumgarner two weeks ago?

      • Hiram Hover - Jul 20, 2015 at 8:40 AM

        Why must you interrupt a rant about Desi with facts about something else?

    • Soul Possession, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2015 at 12:25 PM

      Storen and were sent down to Syracuse when they were not performing at a Major League level. Why not Desmond?

      Because they had options at the time, and no choice in the matter.

  3. natfan33 - Jul 19, 2015 at 9:00 PM

    Okay, here’s the trade. Desmond and Storen for Chapman.

    • patrickthand - Jul 19, 2015 at 9:06 PM

      The Reds would say, “How about Storen for Chapman. You keep Desmond and instead throw in some batting practice balls and a fungo bat.”

    • Nats Fan Zee - Jul 19, 2015 at 9:10 PM

      NFW

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 19, 2015 at 9:28 PM

      You’re joking, right? Why would the Nats throw in Desi and why would the Reds want him for 2 months? Also what good is it swapping Storen for Chapman.

      Try again.

    • dhamm6500 - Jul 20, 2015 at 7:23 AM

      Give Walt Jocketty at least a little credit that he knows what he’s doing….

  4. Nats Fan Zee - Jul 19, 2015 at 9:14 PM

    The Mets are going yo be tired after that marathon win to night but boy, they are going to play the Nats hard and try to take if not sweep. Head to head they gain a full game with each win. That’s way they altered the rotation. We need Desi to “rest” for the next three games and play anybody that might get a hit.

    Going to be interesting.

    • adcwonk - Jul 19, 2015 at 10:46 PM

      Mets left 25 men on base (!!) – -they were 1-for-26 RISP (!!)

  5. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 19, 2015 at 9:25 PM

    Rafael Soriano to the Cubs. To make room for him the Cubs DFA to Edwin Jackson.

    • ArVAFan - Jul 19, 2015 at 9:42 PM

      Always interesting to see what happens to ex-Nats. I doubt anyone will pick up EJ’s contract, but weirder things have happened. Personally, I liked Soriano when he was good, and didn’t when he wasn’t: the untuck thing and mannerisms never bothered me as much as it did some folks. (And didn’t someone catch Barrett talking into his hat a couple of games back?)

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 19, 2015 at 9:46 PM

        Remember, any team that picks up EJax under a DFA as a FA only has to pay him league minimum for the prorated period to the end of the season so less than $250,000. That’s the same way the Barves just got Detwiler.

  6. Doc - Jul 19, 2015 at 9:46 PM

    MLB Rumors reports that Abel de los Santos from AA is on his way to the Nats. De los Santos is a RH reliever that the Nats got along with Chris Bostick for Detweiler.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 19, 2015 at 9:55 PM

      That’s interesting.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 19, 2015 at 9:56 PM

        Treinen back to AAA?

      • Doc - Jul 19, 2015 at 10:20 PM

        That’s my thinking about Treinan, as he unfortunately may be the odd man out. His performance to-day didn’t do him any favors. Still think that he has some of the best stuff in the pen.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 19, 2015 at 10:31 PM

        His inconsistencies are an issue.

      • Hiram Hover - Jul 20, 2015 at 8:37 AM

        While I agree that the “stuff” is there with Treinen, I’m also tired of hearing about it.

        “Stuff” is what you talk about what you can’t talk about “results.”

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 20, 2015 at 8:43 AM

        I used to be one of his biggest supporters. I can’t support him any more. He’s not locating and isn’t getting the big pitch when he needs it.

  7. Section 222 - Jul 19, 2015 at 11:09 PM

    After the Mets comes a four game series against the Pirates, who have lined up their rotation nicely to greet us. So over the course of nine games, the Nats will see seven guys who have been All Stars, or pretty clearly will be All Stars: Kershaw, Greinke, Harvey, DeGrom, Syndegaard, Cole and Burnett. Yikes.

  8. JayB - Jul 20, 2015 at 6:16 AM

    Kinda like playoff?

  9. dcwx61 - Jul 20, 2015 at 8:33 AM

    How does one predict a possible trade…impossible but
    http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2015/07/18/5-biggest-washington-nationals-rumors-two-weeks-before-2015-mlb-trade-deadline/

    • Soul Possession, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2015 at 12:30 PM

      So he mentions Chapman (too expensive for Rizzo, at 2 top-ten prospects) and Kimbrel (maybe, he thinks) as possible trades for bullpen help. Which reminds me: Apparently, nobody thinks the Nats are in on Papelbon. I can kind of see why, the guy’s … not Rizzo’s type (coughADICKcough), but not even rumors?

      • Soul Possession, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2015 at 12:31 PM

        INADVERTENT WHISTLE ON THAT POST REPORT. PLEASE DISREGARD.

        And move the button.

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