Washington Nationals: How Did The Nats Do In The All-Star Game?
The 2021 Washington Nationals were well represented in tonight’s MLB All-Star Game. But how did they do?
Four Washington Nationals were selected to this year’s All-Star game, tying the 2012 team with the most representatives in team history. Kyle Schwarber, Trea Turner, and Juan Soto were all named to their first All-Star game, while this was Max Scherzer’s eighth nod.
Kyle Schwarber unfortunately was unable to play due to a hamstring injury. The Nationals slugger is still on the IL, but he made sure to show up and soak in the experience.
After Jacob deGrom announced he wouldn’t be participating in this year’s festivities so he could rest, the NL was in need of a starting pitcher. NL Manager Dave Roberts gave the ball to Scherzer, making it the future Hall of Famer’s fourth All-Star start.
Despite a stacked AL lineup, Scherzer wasn’t deterred. Instead, the righty stalked the mound like a predator who has his eyes set on his prey. First up was Shohei Ohtani, with Scherzer’s defense bailing him out. Ohtani crushed a ball in the gap on the second base side, but the Pirates Adam Frazier made a slick play and was able to throw Ohtani out.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was up next and almost took Scherzer’s head off. The slugger smashed a ball up the middle, with the Nationals ace barely getting out of the way. For the second time that inning, Adam Frazier made the play. After, Vlad Jr. ran up to the mound and gave Scherzer a hug.
Xander Bogaerts was the third part of the gauntlet, but Scherzer wasn’t fazed. During the at-bat, Bogaerts was mic’d up, talking to Joe Buck and John Smoltz the entire time. In a 2-2 count, Buck asked Bogaerts what pitch he was expecting and the star replied “fastball”. Sadly for the Boston stud, this wasn’t the case and Scherzer got his first strikeout of the night.
After one inning, Scherzer’s outing was done and it wasn’t until the top of the fifth inning that another National would enter the game. Juan Soto took over in right and made the last out of the inning, catching a routine fly ball. The face of the Nationals first at-bat came in the bottom of the sixth. With two on and two out, Soto worked a five-pitch walk. Oakland starter Charlie Bassitt only threw one pitch in the zone during the AB, essentially pitching around the 22-year old. Kris Bryant struck out immediately after to end the inning.
Tera Turner entered the game in the top of the seventh and was on the receiving end of a play in the eighth. Jake Croneworth fired a bullet to second where Turner was covering to get the lead runner. The speedster then led off the bottom of the eighth, but popped up on one pitch.
That same inning, Soto had his second AB and was able to show off his advanced plate discipline. After falling behind 0-2, Soto fouled off multiple pitches and worked an eight-pitch walk to load the bases. During the AB, he laid off multiple tantalizing breaking balls. Once again, Kris Bryant stranded the runners after he was robbed of a base hit.
Turner received one last AB in the bottom of the ninth, but for the second straight time, he swung at the first pitch. This time he grounded out and the game was over. The AL won for the eighth straight time, putting an emphasis on their dominance.