Washington Nationals Rapid Reaction: Ian Desmond’s Error Part Of Tough Loss For Max Scherzer

3 of 4

Jun 9, 2015; Bronx, NY, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) pitches during the first inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Did Matt Williams Leave Max Scherzer In Too Long?

Even though Scherzer took the loss last night, the velocity was back on his fastball. At times, the right-hander was getting his heater up to 96-97 miles per hour in the ball game. He went 6.2 innings, gave up four runs on eight hits, struck out seven, and walked one. While his fastball had the velocity, it was the changeup that Scherzer used on four of his seven strikeouts.

The inning I want to focus on is the bottom of the seventh inning. Scherzer entered that frame on 100 pitches and just got out of a difficult jam in the sixth. With runners on the corners and two outs, he struck out Didi Gregorius swinging with a changeup to keep the score tied.

While the Nats ace got Drew to ground out to begin the inning, he gave up back-to-back singles to Ramon Flores and Brett Gardner to put runners on the corner. With Chase Headley coming up, Scherzer was at 114 pitches (tied for a season-high) and Matt Williams had Matt Thornton and Aaron Barrett warming up in the bullpen.

Instead of taking him out, Steve McCatty comes out and discusses things with Scherzer. While Chase Headley lined out to right on the next pitch, Scherzer stayed in to face Alex Rodriguez. On the first pitch, Rodriguez hit a groundball to Desmond, which the shortstop would hit Flores with the throw and have it go out of play to give the Yankees the lead. Desmond had a play at first, but he made the quick throw and it’s tough to get on him too much for that.

After that play, Williams went to Thornton, who would intentionally walk Mark Teixeira, give up a two-run double to Brian McCann, and a RBI single to Carlos Beltran. Once again, the Nationals bullpen, outside of Drew Storen, failed in a big spot.

Williams did leave in Scherzer a little longer than he should have, but with the way Nats have been losing, he had to get that win with his ace on the mound. At that point in the game, you have to let your ace try to finish the inning rather than go to a bullpen that hasn’t been getting the job done as of late. While it wasn’t Max Scherzer’s best game, he did pitched well enough to deserve a better fate.

Next: A Former Brave Haunts The Nats