Washington Nationals: Phillies’ Strategy Against Bryce Harper Pays Off

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Apr 26, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon (6) looks to throw first base to complete the double play after tagging out Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco (7) fifth inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 26, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon (6) looks to throw first base to complete the double play after tagging out Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco (7) fifth inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /
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Washington Nationals
Apr 26, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) pitches doing the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /

Scherzer’s 1st Inning Woes Continue

It’s a surprise early on in the season that the Washington Nationals are 14-5 and that their ace is statistically their worst pitcher right now. While there’s no need to panic about Scherzer’s struggles only one month into the season, his first inning woes are something that stand out.

Back in 2015, Scherzer gave up 11 first inning runs, which was second on the team behind Jordan Zimmermann (16). So far, in just five starts this season, he has given up eight runs, which is the most on the team and tied with Alfredo Simon (Reds) for most in the league.

The problem for Scherzer last night was his command. His four walks were the most he has had in any start as a member of the Washington Nationals. Two of those walks were to Odubel Herrera, who has now four career walks against Scherzer.

As the Nats’ ace told the media after the game, the issue for him was his fastball command:

However, despite getting in numerous jams, Scherzer was able to hold the Phillies to only three runs on seven hits, and struck out seven on 116 pitches (79 strikes). That run total could’ve been higher if not for Anthony Rendon’s excellent double play in the top of the fifth.

Even when Scherzer isn’t on his game, he is still able to battle through a start and put up a quality outing to keep his team in the game. While there is no panic yet on Scherzer’s slow start, there should definitely be some concern.

Next: Phillies' New Strategy Vs. Harper

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