Max Scherzer takes care of the Phillies in their possible Nationals final
PHILADELPHIA – Max Scherzer had a distinctive performance in what could be his last start for the Nationals, allowing three hits in six innings when Washington beat the Philadelphia Phillies 3-1 in the first game of a doubleheader on Thursday.
Yan Gomes hit a two-run homer to break the tie in the seventh inning for Washington, which is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak that forced a postponement of Wednesday night’s game in Philadelphia. Before the game, the failing Nationals traded closer Brad Hand to the Toronto Blue Jays, and there are plenty of rival teams that would love to have Mad Max for the final two months of the season.
Scherzer (8-4) allowed a home run in the fourth to JT Realmuto while striking out five and walking three on 88 pitches. Kyle Finnegan assumed the closer role and struck out two in the seventh for his first career save.
“Today was a crazy start because of everything that’s going on, but you put your blinders on and you’re going to compete,” Scherzer said. “Even when you’re at your worst, you want to go out there and do your best.”
When Scherzer received a handshake in Washington’s dugout in the top of the seventh, Gerardo Parra edged out center fielder Odubel Herrera and Gomes, who was reinstated from the disabled list 10 days before the game, drilled a plumb bob of Zack Wheeler in the trees. past the center-field fence for his ninth home run of the season.
“I wanted that pitch (for Gomes) on the outside,” Wheeler said. “I threw it in half and he made me pay for it.”
Wheeler (8-6) was the distance in the seven-inning game, allowing seven hits, walking two and striking out five on 100 pitches.
“We need to win some games,” Wheeler said. “That was a great game for us and he had to go out there and put some zeros, especially against Max because he is going to stop us or try and I let us down.”
Scherzer, a three-time Cy Young Award winner and a stalwart of Washington’s 2019 World Series winning team, will become a free agent at the end of the season.
“I don’t want to see this as a negative thing. I really see it as a positive, ”Scherzer said. “I signed a seven-year contract here to win a World Series. And we won. We won a World Series. That’s a lifelong dream come true. “
The Nationals have fallen out of contention in the NL East thanks to a 7-16 record this month, making Scherzer the best starter on the market ahead of Friday’s trade deadline.
Scherzer was asked about your expectations for the 24 hours before the deadline.
“I have nothing,” he said. “I don’t know. How’s this going? This is new to me. I was only traded during the offseason. I’ve never had to deal with this during the season. For me, you put on your blinders, go out, compete and have fun with your classmates “.
Scherzer had only had one start since the All-Star Game began and was scraped from his last outing with strained right triceps. While players in business conversations often rest to avoid injury, Scherzer took the ball anyway, and was in good shape, shifting gears and inducing smooth contact.
“I asked (GM Mike) Rizzo last night if he was pitching,” Scherzer said. “He said yes. ‘And then I told him I wanted to launch Game 1. And he was ready to go.”
Another Washington staff member tested positive for COVID-19 Thursday morning, meaning the Nationals outbreak has affected 13 people – four players and nine staff members.
Before the game, Washington placed All-Star SS Trea Turner, RHP Daniel Hudson, C Alex Avila and RHP Austin Voth on the COVID-19 disabled list. Turner was the first player to test positive and was removed from Tuesday night’s game during the first inning.
Five members of manager Dave Martinez’s coaching staff – bench coach Tim Bogar, pitching coach Jim Hickey, first base coach Randy Knorr, third base coach Bob Henley and assistant hitting coach Pat Roessler – did not were available on Thursday due to COVID-19 protocols.
Major League Baseball allowed Thursday’s doubleheader to continue after morning testing revealed no further infections among active players, Martinez said during his morning Zoom session with reporters.
Martinez said none of the cases was “too serious” and that only the person who tested positive was not vaccinated.
“Thank God most or all of us are vaccinated,” Martinez said. “I can’t imagine going through this without being vaccinated. I want to make it clear, (the vaccine) does help. “
Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg underwent surgery Wednesday to treat neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome. The 2019 World Series MVP will miss the rest of the season, but is expected to be healthy for the start of spring training next year.
Phillies: Placed C Andrew Knapp on the paternity list and removed C Rafael Marcand from Double-A Reading.
UNTIL NEXT TIME
Nationals: Come home to host the Chicago Cubs on Friday. Washington has not announced Friday’s starting pitcher.
Phillies: Will begin a seven-game road trip on Friday in Pittsburgh. RHP Vince Velásquez (3-5, 5.54) will face RHP Wil Crowe (2-5, 5.89).
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