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Max Scherzer gets All-Star nod, two Nats left out


Max Scherzer gets All-Star nod, two Nats left out

Max Scherzer was named to the NL All-Star team Monday evening and will join teammate Bryce Harper next week in Cincinnati as the Nationals’ lone representatives for the Midsummer Classic. For now.

Scherzer, arguably the NL’s best pitcher through the season’s first half, is the logical choice to start next Tuesday night’s game at Great American Ball Park, but he could wind up unavailable to pitch if he starts Sunday’s first-half finale against the Orioles.

Drew Storen, meanwhile, was left off the roster announced by MLB and NL manager Bruce Bochy on Monday, though the Nationals closer could still wind up in Cincinnati as a replacement for an injured or unavailable pitcher (perhaps even Scherzer).

For now, Harper and Scherzer are the only Nationals to make the squad, with Harper voted in by fans as a starting outfielder and Scherzer voted in by fellow players as part of the NL’s pitching staff. Each was selected for the third time in his career.

“It’s awesome,” Scherzer said. “It’s one of the highest honors in the game to be selected to play in an All-Star Game, and this is my third game. Every single one of them means something different, and this one’s very special.”

Scherzer was an All-Star for the AL each of the last two seasons as a member of the Tigers. He started the 2013 game at Citi Field, retiring Brandon Phillips, Carlos Beltran and Joey Votto in order before departing. He pitched a scoreless inning of relief last year at Target Field, striking out both Yasiel Puig and Paul Goldschmidt and ultimately was credited with the win.

It’s possible, though, Scherzer won’t be eligible to pitch for the NL this year. MLB rules prohibit any pitcher who starts on the Sunday before the All-Star Game from appearing in the exhibition two nights later, and Scherzer may wind up starting that day in Baltimore.


With Stephen Strasburg placed on the disabled list this week, the Nationals could elect to keep the rest of their rotation on a 5-day rotation, which would put Scherzer (who starts Tuesday against the Reds) in line to start Sunday against the Orioles. That decision hasn’t been made yet, and manager Matt Williams said it won’t be made until Thursday (an off-day for the club).

“Our process is that we want to win baseball games,” Williams said. “We’ll see how he comes out of tomorrow, and where it’s at and what we can do going forward, given the off-day. There’s a lot of factors there. By the off-day, we’ll have that determination made.”

Scherzer wouldn’t delve into the subject when asked Monday, saying only: “I’ll talk about that when we cross that road.”

Scherzer’s worthiness of the All-Star selection was never in doubt. He ranks second in the NL with a 1.82 ERA, leads the league with 118 2/3 innings pitched, is second with 139 strikeouts, is tied for third with nine wins and just completed a historic stretch in which opposing hitters went 0-for-52 against him.

“Being able to watch Max pitch every five days, it’s a lot of fun,” Harper said. “It’s something that I enjoy. He’s got that mentality out there that you want a guy to have out there. He really gets me locked-in every single day. We have our little conversations about other pitchers and other teams and whatnot. It’s just exciting and fun to watch. I’m glad he’s on our side.”

The Nationals had no other slam-dunk All-Star choices beyond Harper and Scherzer, but Storen made a strong case for himself with a dominant first half. The right-hander currently ranks second in the NL with 25 saves in 27 opportunities (11 of them coming with the Nats leading by only 1 run when he entered), along with a 1.97 ERA and a 37-to-7 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

“I think Drew’s had a fantastic first half,” Williams said. “He’s leading baseball in 1-run saves. That says something. That says something about his capabilities when he steps in there in the ninth inning. The unfortunate part about the All-Star Game every year is that there are only a certain number of guys that can go. But you never know. There are more games to play before then, and who knows what may happen. I’ll officially say I think he’s had a fantastic first half of the season, and if there’s an opportunity, I’d love to see him go.”

Storen could yet be added as a replacement for an injured pitcher or for a starter who pitches Sunday and becomes ineligible. Infielder Yunel Escobar (.314 batting average, 90 hits) and outfielder Denard Span (.305 batting average, 11-for-11 on stolen base attempts) also are potential replacement candidates off the Nationals’ roster.

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The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful


The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful

It's that wonderful time of year again — when baseball teams flock to warmer climates for spring training and the regular season is practically around the corner — and Bryce Harper is already killing it.

It took the Washington Nationals a few games to brush away their offseason cobwebs and get back into gear, but since the beginning of March, they're riding a five-game win streak as of Sunday the 4th.

They are 6-4-1 in spring training going into Monday's matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Since Thursday, the Nats have taken down — in order — the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, defending World Series champion Houston Astros, the Detroit Tigers and the Mets again. Sunday's 6-2 win against the Tigers was in large part thanks to Harper's bat, as the star of the team drilled his first home run of spring training. 


Turn up the volume for this one because the sound of Harper's contact with the ball is just beautiful — and perhaps enough to get you pumped for the March 29 opener.

Harper blew this ball away in the bottom of the third for a two-run homer with Howie Kendrick on base. He also had a single in the fourth and finished the game with three RBI.

Gio Gonzalez was the winning pitcher for the Nats. 


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Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches


Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches

We are fortunate enough to live in a world where we can watch a former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback (attempt to) hit against a three-time Cy Young pitcher in a Major League Baseball preseason game.

Max Scherzer took less than a minute to strike out Tim Tebow, who was batting cleanup for the Mets in a spring training game Friday. You can watch the whole at-bat here:

It looks like Tebow and Scherzer are starting to develop a pattern - last year’s matchup between the two went down the exact same way.

Tebow was able to redeem himself later in the game with his first hit of the year against Nats prospect Erick Fedde. He will likely begin the season with the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies, but Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he believes Tebow will eventually see some at-bats in the Majors.