After Bryce Harper was named as a starter on the National League All-Star team last night, Major League Baseball announced tonight who would be the reserve hitters and the pitchers in each league. The other Washington Nationals player that will be joining Harper in Cincinnati on July 14 is starting pitcher Max Scherzer (9-6, 1.82 ERA).
This will be Max Scherzer’s third straight All-Star Game, but his first as a member of the National League. In 2013, he got the start for the American League at Citi Field against Matt Harvey. He threw one inning and struck out one batter. Last season, he pitched in the top of the fifth inning and struck out two batters at Target Field.
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For the 30-year-old ace of the Nats rotation, this selection is well deserved. His 1.82 ERA is second in the NL behind fellow All-Star Zack Greinke of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Scherzer has thrown the most innings in the NL, has the lowest WHIP, and is second in strikeouts (139), behind Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers, who is one of the candidates to make the team on the final vote.
Scherzer has been the NL Pitcher Of The Month each of the last two months, had starts on June 14 vs. the Brewers and June 20 vs. the Pirates when he threw a one-hitter and then a no-hitter vs. Pittsburgh. He was one out away from pitching a perfect game against the Pirates before Jose Tabata was hit by a pitch.
The question that now remains is will Scherzer get a chance to pitch in the Midsummer Classic? After his start tomorrow night against Johnny Cueto (another NL Final vote candidate), he is slated to pitch Sunday afternoon against the Baltimore Orioles because the Nats don’t need a fifth starter due to the day off Thursday. Scherzer would still be able to pitch the All-Star Game, but he could only throw one inning at the very most and it’s up to the Nats and Scherzer to decide whether he wants to pitch.
As for the notable All-Star snubs on the Washington Nationals, closer Drew Storen heads the list. The 27-year-old closer has a 1.97 ERA and has saved 25 games in 27 chances. His ERA is that high because he gave up three runs in an outing on June 16 against the Rays, when the Nats were winning 16-1.
The other relievers picked were Cincinnati’s Aroldis Chapman, Pittsburgh’s Mark Melancon, Trevor Rosenthal of the Cardinals, Philadelphia’s Jonathan Papelbon, and Milwaukee’s Francisco Rodriguez. Papelbon and Rodriguez were their team’s only representatives and each team is required to have at least one player on the roster.
Another Nats player that could have made the team was third baseman Yunel Escobar. Escobar is hitting .313 with four home runs and 27 RBI’s this season. As of right now, it will only be Harper and Scherzer who will represent the Nats in the All-Star Game next Tuesday night.