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Nats Stock Watch: Scherzer's gem highlights the week

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Nats Stock Watch: Scherzer's gem highlights the week

Each week this season, we’ll take the temperature of the Nationals roster to see whose stock is rising or falling.  

Record: 4-3 

Team slash: .294/.361/.462

Team ERA: 4.35

Runs per game: 6.0

 

STOCK UP  

Max Scherzer, SP: 1-0/ 9.0 IP/ 0.00 ERA 

Is there anything Scherzer can't do? After his latest outing on Sunday afternoon, that's certainly a fair question. The Nats' ace turned in not just his best start of the year, or the even the best of his career; he very well could have had the greatest pitching performance in franchise history. The numbers speak for themselves: Nine innings, no runs allowed and 16 strikeouts, including 27 swings-and-misses. Were it not for a meekly-hit opposite field single into shallow right by Brewers centerfielder Carlos Gomez, we're probably talking about a no-hitter or perfect game. Scherzer was so dominant, so in command that Milwaukee hitters were clearly more and more flummoxed as the game wore on. From his fastball to his changeup to his slider, he had everything working to near perfection. Scherzer sports a 1.93 ERA and has an NL-best 113 strikeouts. So far, so good for the $210 million man. 

Bryce Harper, RF: .500 AVG/ 2 HR/ 1.480 OPS 

Ho hum, just another appearance in this section for the NL's leading vote-getter in the All-Star Game. While it may seem like he's cooling off because he isn't hitting as many long balls as he did last month, he's still having a solid June; Harper's hitting .417 with four home runs this month with a .525 on-base percentage. So while he's not going to hit 13 homers every month like he did in May, he's showing that his new-and-improved approach at the plate yields more than just power numbers. 

Wilson Ramos, C:  3 HR/ 7 RBI/ 1.066 OPS 

Yes, Ramos compiled a lot of these numbers during Tuesday night's drubbing of the Rays, but he's had a pretty solid stretch recently. He has hits in seven of his last 10 games with four home runs and nine RBI. The offense is still looking for some consistency (Tuesday's game aside), and Ramos heating up would be a good way to make the lineup more balanced to take the pressure off Harper. 

STOCK DOWN  

Ian Desmond, SS: .115 AVG/ 14 K/ .294 OPS 

Desmond has gone through some dry spells before, but we're not sure if we've seen him go through an albatross like this. In his last 10 games, he has just four hits and compiled 17 strikeouts. Ouch. It doesn't seem like health is an issue, so it's hard to pinpoint what exactly is the problem. Obviously, the over-arching themes for his season is that he's in a contract year and is under pressure to perform to get big money in the offseason. Is the pressure getting to him? No one knows for sure, but right now he's pressing and not resembling the player who won three straight Silver Sluggers.  

Jordan Zimmermann, SP: 0-1/ 3.1 IP/ 16.20 ERA 

We mentioned last week that the Nats can't afford to have Zimmermann go through a slump given the rest of the rotation's inconsistency. Unfortunately for him, he turned in his second straight rough outing, allowing six earned runs to the lowly Brewers Friday night. In two starts, Zimmermann's ERA has jumped from 2.88 to 3.74. This isn't cause for concern just yet, but it has to be a bit troubling for Matt Williams that as of now he only has one starter in Scherzer he knows he can count on.  

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Former Nats manager Jim Riggleman named interim manager of Reds

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Former Nats manager Jim Riggleman named interim manager of Reds

Remember Jim Riggleman, the infamous Nats manager that resigned from the position back in 2011 after a win against the Seattle Mariners? Well he's back in a managerial position.

Bryan Price was fired as manager of the Cinncinati Reds Thursday, after the team started the 2018 season 3-15. Riggleman, who spent four seasons as their bench coach, was named the interim manager to replace Price.

Riggleman was promoted to interim manager of the Nats in July of 2009, after Manny Acta was let go midseason. He stayed on as manager for 2010 and 2011, and he then resigned from the team on June 23, 2011 after a win agaisnt the Seattle Mariners. He had lead the team to a win in 11 of their last 12 games prior to stepping away.

The reason behind the dramatic exit was due to the organization not yet picking up his 2012 contract option. He had reportedly requested a conversation with the front office about his future with the organization, and was upset after they declined. At 58 years-old, he felt he deserved more respect.

He's been with the Reds organization since 2012, and has spent time managing the Padres, Cubs and Mariners, in addition to the Nationals. His career winning pct. with each team has been below-.500.

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Nationals fall after Mets score 9 runs in 8th inning

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Nationals fall after Mets score 9 runs in 8th inning

NEW YORK -- Yoenis Cespedes launched a grand slam during a nine-run outburst in the eighth inning that rallied the New York Mets past the Washington Nationals 11-5 on Wednesday night, preventing a three-game sweep.

Todd Frazier tied it at 4 with a two-run single and pinch-hitter Juan Lagares put New York ahead for the first time with a two-run double off ineffective setup man Ryan Madson (0-2).

Shut down by Tanner Roark for seven innings, the first-place Mets broke loose in the eighth and improved to 13-4 with a stirring victory against their NL East rivals.

Ryan Zimmerman homered twice, tripled and drove in four runs for the Nationals, who pulled off their own big comeback in the eighth inning of the series opener.

Two nights later, New York returned the favor.

Roark limited the Mets to two hits and left leading 4-2. Michael Conforto, Cespedes and Asdrubal Cabrera singled off Madson to load the bases with nobody out in the eighth. Jay Bruce fouled out before Frazier smacked a two-run single up the middle and advanced to second on the throw home.

After an intentional walk to Adrian Gonzalez loaded the bases again, pinch-hitter Wilmer Flores struck out. Lagares then lined a two-run double the other way, just inside the right-field line at the outer edge of the infield grass, to put the Mets up 6-4.

Sammy Solis walked Amed Rosario and Conforto to force in a run. Cespedes connected for his sixth career slam -- the third by the Mets already this season -- off A.J. Cole, sending fans into a frenzy.

Both of Cespedes' hits in the inning came on 0-2 pitches.

AJ Ramos (1-1) worked a perfect inning for his first win with the Mets since being acquired from Miami last July.

Howie Kendrick reached on an infield single for Washington in the first and Bryce Harper drew his 24th walk, most in the majors. Zimmerman, batting .121 at that point and struggling to make opponents pay for bypassing Harper, came through with a drive to left-center off Steven Matz for his second home run of the season.

Matz steadied himself after a 33-pitch first inning and retired his final 10 batters. He was pulled for a pinch hitter in the fourth after throwing 74 pitches.

Cabrera doubled to open the fourth and scored on Gonzalez's single. Zimmerman had a chance to start an inning-ending double play, but his throwing error from first base allowed another run to score on Jose Lobaton's RBI grounder as the Mets cut it to 3-2.

After Mets pitchers retired 16 in a row, Zimmerman's leadoff triple in the seventh got past a diving Bruce in right field, and Moises Sierra followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 4-2.

Zimmerman also hit a solo homer in the ninth.