Washington Nationals Recap: Max Scherzer Stellar in 1-0 Loss to Cardinals


The Washington Nationals may have lost to the St. Louis Cardinals this afternoon, but in Spring Training, the result is very rarely the takeaway from the game. Today, the thing the Nationals will remember from this game was the performance from their new ace, Max Scherzer.

Scherzer dominated the Cardinals, holding them scoreless through his six innings pitched. He surrendered just three hits and hit one batter, while walking none and striking out nine. He was locating all four of his pitchers for strikes and Cardinals hitters appeared one step behind him the entire game. His six shutout innings lowered his ERA to 1.35 on the spring, and by going six, he proved that he is good to go for the regular season.

This was his first start since Matt Williams announced that he would be the Opening Day starter. If he can perform as well on April 6th, as he did today, the Nationals can expect to have a curly W in the books.

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Unfortunately, for the Nationals hitters, Cardinals flamethrower Michael Wacha was equally dominant on this day. Wacha didn’t allow a run in the 5.2 innings he pitched and only allowed four hits. Wacha is a star in the making for the Cardinals and he certainly showed that once again today.

The rest of the Cardinals bullpen did the job they needed to do as well, and shut the Nationals out through the final 3.2/3 innings.

No National had more than a one hit, but Ryan Zimmerman, Clint Robinson, Tyler Moore, Michael Taylor, and Dan Uggla all singled for the Nats. Uggla’s hit raised his average to .333 on the spring, as he continues to make a case for a spot on the Opening Day roster.

Out of the bullpen, Matt Thornton gave the team a scoreless seventh, allowing one hit, and striking out a batter. But Aaron Barrett labored through the eight inning, giving up the lone run of the game on a sac fly off the bat of second baseman Ty Kelly, which scored outfielder Charlie Tilson.

Neither team had an error, although Barrett did throw a wild pitch which allowed the winning run to advance to third.

The Nationals got some concerning news before the game when Anthony Rendon had a second MRI on his ailing knee. They found some improvement, but not enough for him to resume baseball activities, which makes the likelihood of him being ready into for Opening Day very small. Danny Espinosa started his second straight game at third and looked comfortable enough, proving that he could be a replacement for Rendon in the likely scenario that he isn’t able to go on April 6th.

All in all, the Nationals have to be very pleased from what they saw from Scherzer. While the bats may not have been there on this day, one can expect that a full lineup will be the winning combination the Nationals need come the regular season.

The Nationals will be back in action at Space Coast Stadium in Viera on Thursday at 5:05 PM ET when they take on the New York Mets. Gio Gonzalez will get the start for Washington against Jon Niese for the Mets.

Next: 2015 State Of The NL East: Philadelphia Phillies

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