Washington Nationals Need Curly “W” From Max Scherzer
By Ron Juckett
With a four-game losing streak, the Washington Nationals turn to Max Scherzer to right the ship as they sail towards October.
The Washington Nationals need Max Scherzer now more than ever. Wednesday night’s game against the Miami Marlins is the reason he makes the big bucks.
This road trip has been unsuccessful so for. The Nats have dropped four straight to the Marlins and Atlanta Braves. Rumors are swirling over the health of Bryce Harper’s shoulder, and the offense appears locked away at Nationals Park. From lackluster performances to a feeling of unease as the Nationals chase the National League East title, Scherzer has the chance to right the ship.
Not all of Tuesday’s news was bad. The Braves beat the New York Mets while the San Francisco Giants shut out the Los Angeles Dodgers 2-0. The magic number drops to four and the lead over the Dodgers remains at four games for home field.
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Still, in a sport that moves on confidence and momentum, the Washington Nationals badly need both. Enter, Scherzer.
With an off-day looming before the show moves to Pittsburgh for three against the Pirates, Scherzer has the chance to hit the reset button as the Nationals hope to celebrate their division crown sometime over the weekend.
After Jose Fernandez’s virtuoso performance Tuesday night for the Marlins, it also gives us a taste of how the Nats will respond to the pressures of October baseball this year. Tanner Roark could not have pitched better save for Giancarlo Stanton’s self-coached home run in Tuesday’s 1-0 loss. Sometimes, you get beat.
With a win and a good night from Scherzer, the last four games turn into water under the bridge.
The 17-game winner has won both his decisions this month, including the lone win on this trip Friday night in Atlanta. Now with 259 strikeouts, Scherzer boasts an ERA of 2.78 and a WHIP of 0.930.
The last time the Nats lost a game he started was August 9 against the Cleveland Indians. Scherzer scattered three hits, two runs and 10 strikeouts in seven innings. Hard to put the loss on him. Since then, Washington has won his last seven starts with him picking up five decisions.
For the 20th time this year, he goes on the regular four days rest. The Marlins have given trouble though this year. They tagged him for one of his seven losses and, in two starts, Scherzer’s ERA is 4.85. Six times this season, the Nationals failed to give him over two runs support and he is 0-5 with a 3.52 ERA in those games.
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As it stands the team has more questions than answers. There is a reason the Nats signed Scherzer to a seven-year, $210 million contract, to win games like Wednesday. If not now, what will happen in two weeks when the playoffs begin?