Postgame analysis of the Nats' 10-7 win over the Miami Marlins on Sunday afternoon at Nationals Park.
How it happened: Before we break down the Nats' victory over the Miami Marlins in the final game of the 2016 regular season, let's first get the most important information out of the way, the only thing that truly matters for Washington as they prepare to take on the Dodgers this week in the NL Division Series.
Nobody got hurt.
Yes, the team that lately has had all sorts of bad luck in the injury department made it through their final, meaningless game unscathed. The banged-up Daniel Murphy pinch-hit, Max Scherzer took a tumble sliding into second base and Stephen Drew got hit by a pitch. Deep breaths were taken, but nobody got hurt.
It wasn't pretty, but Scherzer did get his 20th win. He struggled at times with five earned runs allowed, his most since June 24. But he had his best game ever at the plate with two hits and four RBI. The latter is a new record for Nationals pitchers and gave him a career-high of 12 on the season.
Danny Espinosa added two more runs on his 24th homer in the fifth inning. Jose Lobaton brought in one on a sacrifice fly and Wilmer Difo scored another on a fielder's choice groundball.
Trea Turner knocked in their ninth run on a single in the bottom of the eighth. And Ben Revere followed that with an RBI single of his own to give them 10 runs, the 14th time the Nats reached double digits this season.
Scherzer began his day with three scoreless frames before allowing a pair of homers and an RBI triple. The homers, by Destin Hood and Tomas Tellis, were the first of their careers. The triple was by All-Star Christian Yelich. Those were part of a season-high nine hits allowed by Scherzer.
The Marlins got two more runs off Reynaldo Lopez in the eighth inning. Telis smacked a two-RBI single to right field with the bases loaded.
Mark Melancon got through the ninth to earn his 47th save of the season. It was his 17th since joining the Nats in a trade in late July.
The Nationals bookended their regular season with two straight wins. They went 17-12 in their final month.
What it means: The Nats finished with a 95-67 overall record, third-best in team history. Next stop: the playoffs.
Scherzer's final start: With the regular season over, Scherzer's case for the 2016 Cy Young award has come to a close. Though he did get his 20th win, some of his other numbers moved in the wrong direction. Scherzer saw his season ERA rise to 2.96, his WHIP go to 0.97 and his homers allowed move to a career-high 31. The ERA is what will likely hurt him the most. He went from sixth among NL starters to ninth.
His 20th win, though, does put him in some exclusive company in franchise history. He's the first right-hander in Nats/Expos history to win 20 and just the third pitcher overall. Gio Gonzalez won 21 in 2012 and Ross Grimsley won 20 in 1978.
Harper gets a double: Before Harper landed a double to lead off the bottom of the fifth, he had struck out in eight of his nine at-bats since returning from his jammed left thumb. It was encouraging to see the reigning MVP get an extra-base hit, especially given it was to opposite field. Harper finished his 2016 season with a .243 batting average after hitting .330 in 2015.
Espinosa hits No. 24: Espinosa smoked a 93 mile per hour fastball from Austin Brice for his homer in the bottom of the fifth. That gave Espinosa 24 on the year, which matches his combined total from the last three seasons. That's a good sign for Espinosa, who will certainly be looking for better results this postseason than he's had in the past. Through seven playoff games and 23 total plate appearances, Espinosa has just one hit. He wasn't a regular in 2014, but now will be counted on heavily to produce given all the injuries around him in the Nats' lineup.
Up next: The Nats take four days off before starting their second season, the playoffs. Game 1 will be on Friday with Scherzer set to square off with another former Cy Young winner in Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.
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