Washington Nationals: Max Scherzer strikes again

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WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 14: Starting pitcher Max Scherzer
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 14: Starting pitcher Max Scherzer /
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Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer fans 11 as they stun the Colorado Rockies 6-2. The three-time Cy Young makes an early MVP case.

The Washington Nationals needed a change of results and they got one. For the second time in five days, Max Scherzer gave Washington a needed win while elevating his status into ultimate legend.

After a home run by Charlie Blackmon, Scherzer retired 20 straight. Yep. Twenty consecutive Colorado Rockies found the bench as “The Imaxxulate One”threw seven innings of one-hit, one-run ball.

For the fourth time this year, and a remarkable 67th time in his career, Scherzer fanned double-digits. Eleven with a walk mixed in. In 103 pitches, he delivered 70 strikes. This week, over 16 innings, he tossed 205 pitches with 142 being in the strike zone.

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Yet, it was his bloop single to right that jump-started Washington’s dormant offense. In a moment scripted from Hollywood, Scherzer stalked the dugout with his batting helmet on waiting for his moment. In the sixth, he delivered. By the end of the frame, it was 6-2 and game over.

It is rare for pitchers to win a Cy Young and a Most Valuable Player Award. But, if the Nats win the division, it is hard to deny Scherzer consideration. This week, he stopped two losing streaks and started a game-winning rally with his bat. Although the innings pitched do not compare, he is a throwback to Don Drysdale and Bob Gibson.

He is the ultimate bulldog.

SMALL BALL FOR THE WIN

Another turning point was Bryce Harper scoring on a Michael Taylor squeeze bunt.

Give manager Dave Martinez credit for taking the bat out of the struggling Taylor’s hands and using his speed to change the game. Called out at first, replay had Harper’s foot crossing home before Tony Wolters’ tag.

Washington gets in trouble for their aggression running the bases, but Martinez recognized the opportunity and turned a sure bad at-bat by Taylor into a run. Harper has good speed. They used the right combination of batter and a runner to execute the squeeze.

WIETERS POWER

Finally healthy, Matt Wieters crushed a solo homer and a single. He scored, and drove in, two. As improved as Pedro Severino looked catching Scherzer Monday, this is the perfect battery combination. Get the sign and throw the ball. After the Blackmon home run, Colorado did not know what hit them.

ROMERO CLAIMED

During the game, the Pittsburgh Pirates claimed Enny Romero off the waiver wire. Outside when the Nats play the Pirates, we wish him well. His fastball is incredible when he has command.

Next: Pitching must carry load

Stephen Strasburg goes to level the series Sunday at 1:30.

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