To the Max: Scherzer throws second no-hitter in Washington Nationals history


While the 2015 season has been frustrating at times for the Washington Nationals, there are two players who never seem to disappoint and are always must-see TV when they’re playing. One of the players, Bryce Harper, is in the lineup every day and almost always puts on a show with his bat. The other player, Max Scherzer, is only on the field every fifth day but is just as important to the Nationals.

When both of these immensely talented players take the field at the same time, the results are almost always spectacular and, at times, historic; Scherzer dazzling with his arm, and Harper awing with his bat. Saturday afternoon was no exception, as Scherzer led the way and Harper contributed to something that had only happened once before in the history of the Nationals.

Scherzer, boasting the same stuff that he’s had all season and piecing it all together to take it to a whole new level, pitched the first no-hitter of his career. 28 batters faced the Nationals’ prized offseason acquisition, only one reached base. It was the second no-hitter in the history of the ball club, with Jordan Zimmermann‘s no-no coming nine months earlier on the same mound which Scherzer used to propel himself into baseball immortality.

After throwing a complete-game, one-hit, 16-strikeout gem his last time out, the right-hander was even better Saturday afternoon. Scherzer threw nine spectacular no-hit innings while striking out 10 batters. He came oh-so-painfully-close to accomplishing an even more impressive feat, losing the perfect game with two outs in the ninth inning after hitting Pittsburg’s Jose Tabata with a pitch.

The controversial HBP will no doubt cause a ton of debate in the coming days, as it seemed like Tabata leaned his elbow into an 86 mph slider that didn’t miss the plate by much. As heartbreaking as it must’ve been to see the perfect game end how it did, Scherzer didn’t allow it to faze him as he quickly retired the next batter Josh Harrison, who flew out to left fielder Michael A. Taylor to seal the no-hitter for Scherzer.

The offense did its part to help secure Scherzer’s place in history, putting up more than enough runs to back the right-hander’s phenomenal performance.

It all started, not surprisingly, with Harper—who hit his 23rd home run of the season in the fourth inning to give the Nationals a 1-0 lead. Washington doubled its lead in the bottom of the sixth inning on an RBI double by Anthony Rendon.

Unfortunately for the Pirates, the Nationals weren’t done and neither was Harper. The 22-year-old slugger made it a 3-0 game with an RBI single. Tyler Moore made it a 5-0 game on a two-run single later in the inning. The Nationals scored their seventh and final run on a wild pitch by Pittsburg pitcher Vance Worley in the seventh inning.

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It was a great showing by an offense that has struggled mightily this season, but today was all about Scherzer. The right-hander—who is now 8-5 with a 1.76 ERA—has carried the Nationals’ rotation and helped keep the team’s head above water all season long.

From all the dominant outings he’s had this season, it became clear that it was only a matter of time before Scherzer did something truly special. It finally happened today. Although it wasn’t a perfect game, Scherzer was perfect in almost every sense of the word, and his admirable effort on the mound today will never be forgotten by a fanbase that continues to be impressed by the best pitcher in baseball.

Next Game: Gio Gonzalez takes the mound tomorrow afternoon as the Nationals look to complete a sweep of the Pirates. Right-hander Charlie Morton takes the mound for Pittsburg.

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