Scherzer Looks Good in Blue

It was throw back afternoon at Nationals park with the Nationals wearing the powder blue uniforms of the Expos. Max Scherzer looked good in the powder blue, throwing seven innings of shutout ball and striking out 11 in the Nationals 6-0 win over the Royals. In the seventh Scherzer struck out the side throwing only four fastballs, getting the Royals to swing and miss at his sliders and change. Max even had a single and stolen base in the game.

The Nationals also scored early to support Scherzer. Glen Sparkman got the start for the Royals. Trea Turner started the Nationals off with a single to left. Adam Eaton lined one into right center that advanced Turner to third but Eaton hustled it into a double. Anthony flied to shallow right to hold the runners. Juan Soto lined one into left center. It stayed up and was close to being caught with Turner staying glued to third, breaking for home once the ball hit the ground. Eaton was more than halfway to third and Henley tried to hold him up. Eaton ran through the red light and the Royals cutoff man Mondesi gunned Eaton out at home. A potential big rally was stunted by a baserunning error.

In the second Matt Adams worked a walk. Kurt Suzuki piled into a pitch and sent it over the bullpen just reaching the left field bleachers for a two run dinger. The Nationals were not done. Victor Robles followed with a double down the left field line. Trea Turner blooped one over the first baseman’s glove for a single, Robles stopping at third. Turner made a late break for second stopped halfway. Mondesi chased after Turner, Robles broke for home about the time Mondesi tagged Turner. It appeared the throw beat Robles to the plate but Gallagher was in front of home and by the time he turned to make the tag Robles had slid his hand across the plate. The Nationals had a 4-0 lead.

The Nationals loaded the bases in the third inning, just like they had done three or four times in their loss the previous game, but just like that game they failed to score when Kurt Suzuki grounded into a double play. Sparkman settled down after that, allowing just one baserunner in his last three innings of work.

The best shot the Royals had of scoring against Scherzer was in the first inning when a lead off single and one out walk put two runners on with two out. A fly to center advanced Merrifield to third, but Scherzer ended the rally by striking out Jorge Soler. The Royals could not get more than one baserunner for the last six innings, failing to get anyone past second.

The Nationals tacked onto their lead in the seventh off reliever Jorge Lopez. Sloppy fielding by the Royals led to the two runs. Pinch hitter Gerrado Parra started the inning with a single. Jorge Soler let the ball go through his legs. Parra broke for second with Soler recovering in time to have his throw beat Parra to the bag, but the ball skipped past Mondesi at second. Adam Eaton hit a slow bouncer to third, which Dozier allowed to eat him up, the ball skipping past his glove into left field. Most third baseman are expected to make that play. It was ruled a hit but myworld has an error in the scorebook. Parra scored on a deep fly out by Rendon in left. After an Eaton stolen base Soto lined a single to center to score Eaton to make it 6-0.

Tanner Rainey came on to relieve Scherzer in the eighth. He was a bit shaky, issuing a one out walk to Merrifield and a single to Alberto Mondesi. Alex Gordon, who Scherzer had failed to retire in three previous at bats, hit the ball hard against Rainey, but right at Kendrick who turned a 4-6-3 double play.

Matt Grace came on in the ninth to preserve the shutout and lower his ERA to below 6.00.

Game Notes: Vladimir Guerrero threw out the first pitch in the game. Nationals manager Davey Martinez caught. Davey also played for the Expos after he had played for the Reds. Vladimir threw a strike. It appears life has been good to Guerrero since his waist line shows he has been eating well. Like all of us once we get past 40 he has gained a few pounds in the middle…Max Scherzer stole a base in the fourth inning, breaking for second while Glenn Sparkman was in the stretch. Sparkman went to the plate instead of stepping off the rubber and throwing to second. For Scherzer it was his second career stolen base…Jorge Lopez was in the starting rotation at the start of the season. His ERA rose close to a 7.00 after a decent start to the season. The Royals were forced to move him to the bullpen. His fastball is good, sitting at 95-97. The velo may not be at that level when he is starting, but he has good stuff. The location of that stuff is a bit spotty…Scherzer failed to retire Alex Gordon, who walked, doubled and singled in three at bats. He got on base more times than his teammates combined while Scherzer was on the mound. He also has a .390 batting average against Scherzer when Max pitched for the Tigers…Anthony Rendon has decided not to participate in the All Star game to rest his legs. Myworld did comment about his apparent lack of hustle as he ran around the bases, but he has been bothered by leg injuries, which restrict him from running too hard. So myworld takes back what we said about his lack of hustle when running around the bases…Max Scherzer had just returned from paternity leave to pitch in this game. On Thursday his wife gave birth to their second daughter.

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