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Scherzer strikes out 10, leads Nationals over Mets 7-2

Scherzer strikes out 10, leads Nationals over Mets 7-2

NEW YORK -- Max Scherzer struck out 10 over eight masterful innings to reach double digits for the fifth straight start and limited the Mets to four hits, leading the Washington Nationals over New York 7-2 on Friday night.

Matt Wieters and Michael A. Taylor hit consecutive homers starting the third inning against Steven Matz (1-1). Anthony Rendon added a two-run homer in the sixth and had three RBIs, Bryce Harper finished with three hits, including a run-scoring single in the eighth, as the Nationals improved to 5-0 at Citi Field this year.

Scherzer (8-4) won for the fourth time in five starts, starting 26 of 29 batters with strikes. He never threw more than 16 pitches in an inning until the eighth, ending that one by fanning Yoenis Cespedes in an 11-pitch at-bat. Scherzer walked two and threw 118 pitches, his most since May 11 last year, but got defensive help when Washington's infield turned three double plays behind him.

Jose Reyes led off the eighth with his first home run since May 1, a drive into the right-field second deck, and pinch-hitter Curtis Granderson followed with a flyout to the warning track.

Scherzer, the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, reached double digits in strikeouts for the eighth time this season and the 57th time in his big league career, and he allowed four hits or fewer for the 10th time in 14 starts. Jay Bruce led off the ninth against Shawn Kelley with his 18th homer.

New York, which dropped 10 1/2 games behind the NL East-leading Nationals, was starting a stretch in which it faces Stephen Strasburg on Saturday and the Los Angeles Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw on Monday.

Making his second start since recovering from left elbow inflammation, Matz allowed four runs and eight hits in seven innings with four strikeouts and no walks. In his return from the disabled list, he won at Atlanta last weekend.

Matz retired his first six batters -- matching the most by a Mets starter this season -- before Wieters sent a sinker into the center-field seats. Taylor drove an opposite-field drive over the right-field wall three pitches later, the sixth back-to-back homers for the Nationals this year.

Rendon doubled the lead in the sixth with another opposite-field drive to right, his 12th home run this season and the NL-leading 103rd for the Nationals. Harper and Ryan Zimmerman hit run-scoring singles against Fernando Salas in a three-run eighth, giving Harper 51 RBIs and Zimmerman 52, and Rendon was walked with the bases loaded by Neil Ramirez.

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Why Bryce Harper would be a bargain at $500 million

Why Bryce Harper would be a bargain at $500 million

$500 million.

That number is so hard to wrap your brain around, but it's a number a lot of professional baseball players may soon start seeing on their contracts.

One player who could be the first to see that amount within the next year is Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper.

Harper will become a free agent in 2018 and people are already projecting his market value at close to $500 million, if not more.

Miami Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton signed a contract back in 2014 for 13 years, $325 million, holding the league record.

For Fancy Stats writer Neil Greenberg, $500 million is a bargain for someone of Harper's caliber.

"Harper is every bit as good [as Stanton] but he's also young," Greenberg told the Sports Junkies Friday.

"I mean, we don't see a player that's as good as Harper, that's as young a Harper, hit the market almost ever I want to say. You look at how many years of his prime he has left and then even if you start to give him just the typical aging curb off of that prime, he's probably worth close to 570 million dollars starting from 2019 and going forward ten years. And that includes also the price of free agency going up and other factors."

Harper, who is only 25 years-old, brings more to a team than just talent. He's one of the most recognizable figures in baseball, bringing tremendous marketing opportunities to an organization. Greenberg dove deeper into how that will increase his market value.

"And that's just for the on-the-field product. You talk about all the marketing that's done around Bryce Harper [and] what he does for the game. In my opinion, and based on the numbers that I saw, he's a bargain at $500 million."

Don't we all wish someone would say $500 million is a bargain for us?

After crunching the numbers, the biggest takeaway for Greenberg is the return on investment the Nationals have gotten out of Harper.

"Like if you look at his wins above replacement throughout his career, he's given you 200 million dollars in value for 21 million dollars in cash and he's due what another 26 or 27 million this year. I mean he's already given you an amazing return on investment."

"So, if you're the Nationals having - benefited from that - you know you have a little bit of, I guess, wiggle room in terms of maybe you're paying a little bit for past performance 'cause, you know, when a player is on arbitration in their early years they don't really get paid that much."

The Nationals still have Harper for one more season and many feel they need to make him an offer sooner than later. Whenever and whoever he gets an offer from, it's going to be a nice pay day for him.

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Nats' Max Scherzer wins second straight NL Cy Young Award

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Nats' Max Scherzer wins second straight NL Cy Young Award

Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals has coasted to his third Cy Young Award and second straight in the National League.

Scherzer breezed past Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, drawing 27 of the 30 first-place votes in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

The honor was announced Wednesday on MLB Network.

Scherzer earned the NL honor last year with Washington and the 2013 American League prize with Detroit. He became the 10th pitcher with at least three Cy Youngs.

RELATED: WIETERS WILL RETURN TO NATS IN 2018 

Scherzer was 16-6 with a 2.51 ERA and a league-leading 268 strikeouts for the NL East champion Nationals.

Kershaw has already won three NL Cy Youngs, and was the last pitcher to win back-to-back. He was 18-4 with a league-best 2.31 ERA and 202 strikeouts.

Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians easily won his second AL Cy Young Award earlier in the day. He got 28 of the 30 first-place votes, with Boston's Chris Sale second and Luis Severino of the New York Yankees third.

Kluber led the majors with a 2.25 ERA and his 18 wins tied for the most in baseball.