Washington Nationals Rapid Reaction: Even With Injuries, Nats Offense Delivers For Max Scherzer

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Jun 26, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) catches an infield pop up in front of second baseman Dan Uggla (26) and first baseman Tyler Moore (12) against the Philadelphia Phillies during the eighth inning at Citizens Bank Park. The Nationals won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Scherzer Strong Once Again

He wasn’t perfect, but with the way Max Scherzer has been pitching lately, anything less than a one-hitter seems less than stellar. Normally, it takes Scherzer a few innings to get that fastball up to 96-97 miles per hour. Last night, the fastball was reaching that point in the early innings. His average velocity on his heater was 95.7 miles per hour, according to Brooks Baseball.

All in all, Scherzer went eight innings, gave up two runs on five hits, struck out seven batters, and walked one. In his last three starts, he has a ERA of 0.69 in 26 innings of work, has struck out 33 batters, and walked only one. Every time he takes the mound, you get the sense that history can happen on that particular day. Plus, even with a lineup without most of its regulars, they still have to feel that if they could put together one big inning, that’s enough for their ace to get them the win.

While the 30-year-old ace didn’t rack up the strikeouts last night, he did a great job of taking advantage of the Phillies being aggressive and swinging early in the count. He kept his pitch count down for the first five innings, but you can sense he was starting to feel the effects of back-to-back complete games after the seventh inning.

Nevertheless, Scherzer went out to pitch the eighth inning after a 28 pitch seventh inning, even in a 5-1 game. While he did give up a home run to Ben Revere during the inning, he threw seven pitches in the eighth and six of them were for strikes. With the Nats bench depleted, Scherzer got the job done and paved the way to get it to Drew Storen and gave the rest of the bullpen a night off.

Plus, he was able to contribute in other areas of the game. He led off the fifth inning with a base hit, stole second on a wild pitch by Aaron Harang, and would tag up from third on a fly ball to center field by Danny Espinosa to put the Nationals up 2-0 at the time.

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