scherzer

Jays Force Split Against Sloppy Scherzer

On its face, Game 2 of a rain-forced doubleheader against the Toronto Blue Jays seemed like a near-lock for the Washington Nationals. Max Scherzer, among the NL’s best starters on the young season, was to square off at home against ex-Nat Marco Estrada, who gave up the most home runs in baseball last year en route to -0.2 fWAR.

But it was Estrada who got the better of his Cy Young-winning costar. He gave up just two earned runs on six hits against a lineup featuring only four regulars, as the Jays (24-30) topped the Nationals (29-23) to split the twin bill.

Scherzer Scuffles

On gut instinct, the above feels true. Scherzer has been so excellent as a Nat that anything short of perfection feels disappointing. His 6 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 5 would be simply mediocre for any other pitcher. But, of course, not every pitcher gets paid $210 million.

Scherzer’s command was lacking all night. He walked two batters after walking just 10 in 71.2 innings this season. He gave up two home runs, both to Kevin Pillar, after having given up just three all year. Pillar had been hitting .223/.263/.321 on the year. As a result of this, Scherzer went just six innings, matching his shortest outing of the year.

Manager Matt Williams put it best, saying: “He did OK. He’s not going to be perfect every time out.”

Treinen Scuffles More

Ever the optimist, I have been singing Blake Treinen’s praises on Twitter recently. And the numbers are there to back me up: his line in his previous five appearances was 9.2 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 13 K. Now that’s one hell of a reliever.

But Treinen walked 12 guys in his previous 10.1 IP over nine appearances, giving up five runs in the process. The key for him is command, something he has yet to show consistently. And consistency is key for him if he wants to claim a prominent role in Williams’ bullpen.

Postgame, Williams stressed that Treinen has to ensure that he is locating his sinker and inducing ground balls,

“For him, it’s not about corners, it’s about down,” Williams said. “He was elevated tonight.”

#Tayloring

Michael Taylor started both games in center in relief of Denard Span, who is still suffering from a sore knee. The only similarity between Span and his understudy is their superlative defense; their offensive approaches could not be more different. Taylor swings often and for the fences, though he’s found nothing but air more often than not recently.

After going 1-for-4 with a double and three strikeouts in the nightcap, Taylor has 48 Ks in his first 121 plate appearances this season, good for a ghastly 40% strikeout rate. As a rookie, his struggles are understandable. But no matter his defense or power, Taylor has to make more contact to stick as an MLB regular.

“It’s part of his maturation process,” Williams said. “For Mike, it’s about swinging at a good pitch.”

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Zimmermann, Nats Blank Blue Jays For First Time In ’15

The day was nearly as cold as Jordan Zimmermann’s icy stare as he led the Washington Nationals (29-22) to a 2-0 win over the Toronto Blue Jays (23-30) on a rainy, 61-degree day. Zimmermann won the pitcher’s duel with R.A. Dickey, preventing the highest scoring team in baseball from scoring at all and shutting them out for the first time this year. Continue reading…

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TNB Ranks Top Five Drafts In Nats History

The Major League Baseball draft is exactly one week away. Before the Washington Nationals go on the clock with the 58th pick, the writers at The Nats Blog rank the top-five drafts in Nationals’ history.

While each contributor has written a summary of his/her choices, these rankings will be further discussed in tonight’s episode of Nats Talk On The Go. Join our own Joe Drugan and Craig MacHenry as they preview the draft and discuss these rankings with special guest Ryan Sullivan of NatsGM.com.

Disagree with their picks? Let them know. Tweet using the hashtag #NTOTG to join the conversation during the podcast tonight.

  Andrew Flax Craig MacHenry Zach Spedden
1 2010 2010 2010
2 2009 2009 2007
3 2005 2005 2009
4 2007 2007 2005
5 2011 2011 2011

Continue reading…

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Roark Rocks, But Reds Sweep Nats

It wasn’t pretty, and it wasn’t predictable.

The favored team going into the weekend matchup, the Washington Nationals (28-22) lost their first series in over a month to the Cincinnati Reds (22-27), who had lost 10 of their last 11 games prior to trouncing the Nationals.

Breaking out of their cold streak and putting a cap on their series sweep, the Reds won on Sunday, 8-2, in a game they deserved to win. The Nats hitters did not take advantage of the Reds’ struggling starter, and the bullpen squandered a gem by Tanner Roark. Not being cruel, just being honest. Continue reading…

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#VoteNats: Why Denard Span Deserves To Be An All-Star

The NL All-Star game roster should consist solely of Washington Nationals. You know it and I know it, but all the voters don’t know it. Yet. So it’s the sworn duty of The Nats Blog to inform the world of all the legitimate and totally unbiased reasons this is the case. Each feature in this series will focus on one of the Nats starters and all the reasons they should be playing in the 2015 All-Star game.

The first article in the series will focus on Bryce Harper, right? No. Come on people. That’s far too easy, and I don’t ease myself into things. Instead we’ll start somewhere in the middle with Denard Span. Span is as deserving as any other outfielder in the NL of making the All-Star game roster. He has been a staple for the Nationals for several years, and after starting the 2015 season on the disabled list has been having one of his best seasons yet.

So why should you #VoteSpan? Continue reading…

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Federal Reserve: Rizzo And The Nats Prepare For The 2015 Draft

In 11 days Major League Baseball will begin the 2015 Amateur Draft. Though the Washington Nationals do not have a first-round pick this year—a selection they forfeited by signing free agent Max Scherzer—this could still be an interesting draft for the Nats.

General manager Mike Rizzo and his scouting department have a few challenges this year. Along with their late first selection, they will have to sort through a class that is regarded as one of the weakest in recent memory. This year lacks a clear-cut top selection, while injuries to several pitching prospects—including Tommy John surgeries for IMG left-hander Brady Aiken and Duke right-hander Michael Matuella—have lowered the draft’s perceived value.

Despite those factors, history suggests that even without a big name prospect, the Nationals will be willing to spend to get the player they want. Continue reading…

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Nats Have The Best Player, Starter, and Reliever In Baseball

When the 2015 season started, there was a lot of interest in what the Washington Nationals would be able to do with an electric lineup and outstanding pitching. The team had a slow start in April, but now they not only lead the NL East by 1.5 games, but they have the best player in Bryce Harper, the best starter in Max Scherzer, and the best reliever in Drew Storen.

Continue reading…