Washington Nationals: Playing as a team pays dividends

rshinberg
MIAMI, FL - JULY 27: Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals congratulates Max Scherzer #31 after scoring on a wild pitch during the third inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on July 27, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JULY 27: Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals congratulates Max Scherzer #31 after scoring on a wild pitch during the third inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on July 27, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images) /
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The Washington Nationals offense stole the show, exploding for nine runs. The team backed its ace, Max Scherzer, who pitched eight tremendous innings.

For the first time in a long while, the Washington Nationals managed to earn a team win. Behind eight innings of shutout ball from Max Scherzer, the offense broke out by whacking Miami Marlins reliever Javy Guerra in the eighth inning and blew the game wide open.

The Nats enter the weekend riding a three-game win streak, the first time they’ve done so since July 5-7. During that streak, the Nats averaged 11.67 runs per game. Over the current streak, the team is averaging 8.67 runs per game.

Scherzer was the story of the game before his offense took over. He had a no-hit bid entering the fifth inning and finished the game with 11 strikeouts.

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Coincidentally, this was the 11th time Scherzer has punched-out ten-plus batters in a game this season. Scherzer’s last strikeout gave him number 200 on the season. As MASN Sports’ Dan Kolko says in his tweet, only Tom Seaver has done it more times in one’s career.

Not to mention, Scherzer did this on his 34th birthday. In four career appearances on July 27, Scherzer is 3-1 with a 1.03 ERA with a 12.1 K/9 ratio. We enjoy him, very much.

Offense Seals The Deal

The Nationals ended the day with nine runs on 16 hits, and everybody got in on the action. Every starter got on base, seven of the nine got on base twice, and four reached safely three times.

Matt Adams opened the action in the first inning with an RBI single. Juan Soto followed that up with a second-deck home run to open the second inning. He has now homered in three straight games. Two more runs scored in the fourth inning before the massive eighth.

Incredibly, the Nationals scored all five runs with two outs. In that barrage, Bryce Harper, Adams, and Daniel Murphy hit RBI singles while Soto hit his first career triple. The team went 6-17 with RISP, totaled five RBI’s with two outs, and only had one more strikeout (6) than walks (5).

Best Case Scenario Day

In addition to the big Curly W, every other team in the National League East lost. The Pirates walked-off the New York Mets 5-4, the Cincinnati Reds beat the Philadelphia Phillies 6-4, and the Los Angeles Dodgers downed the Atlanta Braves 4-1.

With the trio of losses, the Nationals now sit six games behind Philadelphia in the NL East. However, the Nats are just three and a half back of Atlanta for the second Wild Card spot.

With the Braves scuffling, having won just seven games in July, the Wild Card is indeed a viable alternative to winning the division. However, with a half-dozen other teams vying for a spot, the Nats should keep their sights set on the division.

Next. What could the Nationals get for Bryce?. dark

On Saturday, Gio Gonzalez will oppose Trevor Richards as the Nationals look for the series win against Miami.  In his career against Miami, Gonzalez is 10-3 with a 1.93 ERA, the lowest ERA he has against any team (min. ten starts).

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