Washington Nationals: Max Scherzer enhances his MVP case
By Blake Finney
After another low-scoring affair in Phoenix, the Washington Nationals were able to ride Max Scherzer to another victory, as he makes a case for MVP honors.
The Washington Nationals got their 11th win 13 tries on Friday night, and they have Max Scherzer to thank yet again. The ace allowed just one run on four hits over seven innings, striking out 11. Not only is he the Cy Young favorite now, he’s squarely in the NL MVP discussion now.
Scherzer is arguably in the best run of his career right now, starting the season 7-1 with a 1.69 ERA. He’s also racking up the strikeouts at a ludicrous rate too, with 91 Ks in 58.2 innings which is good for a 13.96 K/9.
But to go with this, he’s currently second on the team in batting average for players that have played at least nine games. This includes a 2 for 3 effort during Friday’s game. And although these batting stats won’t have a huge bearing on it, Scherzer is one of the leaders for National League MVP.
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The last pitcher to win the award was Clayton Kershaw in 2014. Back then, he had a 21-3 record, 1.77 ERA and 10.8 K/9. All figures that Max Scherzer is set to eclipse, leaving him in a prime position to take home the award. Winning the NL MVP would just put the icing on the cake for the Nats ace and his Hall of Fame career.
Doolittle and the bullpen cart
For the second night in a row, Sean Doolittle entered the game via the hottest ride in town. The Diamondbacks bullpen cart. He’s been a huge advocate of the fancy wheels, in order to conserve his energy before coming into the game.
It’s clearly worked well so far this series. He’s protected a one and two run lead so far, recording his seventh and eighth saves of the season. He also remains perfect in save opportunities in 2018.
Parts of the Nationals bullpen are still in disarray, but Doolittle, along with Brandon Kintzler and Ryan Madson have been able to secure the late innings. For the first time in a long time, it’s an area that Nats fans can rest easy over this season.
Trea Turner continues to sizzle
The Nats have had a habit of leading off games with a bang, this time it was Trea Turner‘s turn. The newly appointed leadoff man battled through an eight-pitch AB before taking starter Matt Koch deep for his fourth home run of the season.
Turner continues to be one of the Nats better hitters right now. Since the San Francisco Giants series 18 games ago, the shortstop has a .952 OPS. This elite figure is proving he has the perfect blend of on-base skills and power right now.
He’s really blossoming into one of the best table-setters in the league, after years of hype and potential. With the news about Adam Eaton and his arthroscopic surgery they will need Turner to continue to occupy the top spot in the lineup. But at this rate, they may not need to worry as he could exceed Eaton’s production there.
Next: Has Scherzer ever been this dominant?
The Washington Nationals will aim to secure a series win against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday afternoon. They send Stephen Strasburg to the mound, and can make a huge statement with a victory.