Ever since the Washington Nationals shocked the baseball world by signing superstar pitcher Max Scherzer to a 7-year, $210 million contract earlier this offseason, most of the talk surrounding the team has been about the new right-hander.
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Scherzer has been a regular topic of discussion for months now on Nationals blogs and radio stations and most conversations with Nationals fans also seem to lead back to the team’s newly-acquired ace. But despite all the talk surrounding Scherzer, no one in Nats Nation had yet to see the right-hander in action as a member of the Nationals.
Obviously, that ended once Spring Training kicked off last month. And after seeing Scherzer in several bullpen sessions over the last couple of weeks, the team and its fans finally got to see him face real hitters during his first live batting practice session Sunday.
In his first time facing live hitters with the Curly W on his chest, Scherzer faced off against Dan Butler, Matt Skole, Sandy Leon and Kila Ka’aihue. While those players aren’t exactly David Wright and Giancarlo Stanton, it’s still good to see Scherzer finally pitch to live batters. And, according to MLB.com’s Bill Ladson, Scherzer fared quite well and the four hitters “made little contact against the right-hander.”
While Scherzer and the team’s other rotation studs are still a ways away from being ready for Opening Day, Scherzer himself agrees that yesterday’s session was a great start.
"“It felt great. It has been a few months since I’ve been out there facing hitters,” Scherzer told Ladson. “It actually seemed like I knew what I was doing. It was a good feeling.”"
According to Ladson, Scherzer appeared to be in mid-season form during the session – which isn’t really surprising given that Scherzer is just two years away from winning the Cy Young award and widely considered to be one of the best starting pitchers in the game. Scherzer won the Cy Young award in 2013 after going 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA. He was almost as good last season, going 18-5 with a 3.15 ERA.
Of course, the Nationals expect their $210 million man to be just as good this season and help guide the team to another NL East title and a deep run in the postseason. And while all of that is still many months away, there’s no reason to believe Scherzer can’t accomplish what the team hired him to do earlier this winter.