Washington Nationals Rapid Reaction: Max Scherzer Has Been Everything Nats Could Have Hoped For

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Jun 20, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) celebrates after recording a no hitter against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Nationals Park. The Nationals won 6 – 0. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

When the Washington Nationals signed Max Scherzer to a seven year, $210 million contract this winter, the organization and their fans knew they were getting a pitcher that was one of the best in the American League and a former Cy Young Award winner. In his last two starts, Scherzer has done something that nobody could have expected.

After nearly throwing a no-hitter against the Brewers last Sunday, Scherzer completed the no-hitter against the Pirates yesterday and was one strike away from throwing a perfect game. It was the second no-hitter in the short history of the Nats (Jordan Zimmermann in 2014) In his last two starts (both complete games), he has given up one hit, struck out 26 batters, walked one, and hit a batter. Plus, Scherzer threw this no-hitter against a Pirates team that came into the Nation’s Capital on an eight-game win streak.

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While the main focus of yesterday’s 6-0 win was about Scherzer, it went under the radar that Bryce Harper was back in the Nats lineup after missing one game with a mild hamstring strain. In the bottom of the fourth inning, Harper crushed a solo home run to dead center field to put the team on the board.

Harper now has a career high 23 home runs this season and it isn’t even July. It had to be a relief to fans to see Harper back in the lineup so soon after suffering what looked to be a serious injury Thursday night against the Rays.

Due to these consecutive wins by the Nationals and two straight losses by the Mets to the Atlanta Braves, the Nats will enter today’s game in first place in the National League East.

Before Gio Gonzalez attempts to finish off the sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates this afternoon at 1:35 PM ET, here are my three takeaways from yesterday’s historic day at Nats Park:

Next: Scherzer's No-No By The Numbers