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Scherzer strikes out 9 batters in first 4 innings against Cubs

Scherzer strikes out 9 batters in first 4 innings against Cubs

Max Scherzer took the mound on Monday night against the Chicago Cubs looking to rebound from his first meeting against them, a seven earned run beatdown he endured at Wrigley Field back on May 6. This time Scherzer was in control.

The right-hander struck out nine Cubs batters through the first four innings and didn't allow a baserunner along the way. He struck out the side in both the first and third innings.

Scherzer hit 96 and 97 with his fastball to get Jason Heyward and Kris Bryant to go down looking in the first inning. He also got Addison Russell to strikeout watching a 97 mile per hour fastball in the third.

The nine strikeouts Scherzer posted through four innings matched his pace from the 20-strikeout game he had against the Detroit Tigers on May 11 of this year.

Some of Scherzer's best starts with the Nationals have come against strong opponents. Both of his no-hitters in 2015 came against playoff teams in the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Mets. And his 20-strikeout gem came against a Tigers lineup that had Miguel Cabrera, Justin Upton and Victor Martinez.

The Cubs currently boast the best record in baseball at 43-18.

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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.

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2018 MLB Power Rankings: April update

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2018 MLB Power Rankings: April update

Frankly, it’s too early to make major changes to our power rankings. Let this serve as the requisite reminder that the season is only ~10% done, and all reactions right now could be classified as overreactions.

That said, nearly three weeks’ worth of games is all we have to go on right now, and there have already been a few teams to make our preseason rankings look silly.

Some players/teams have no reason to worry (Nationals, Cubs), and some have truly changed our minds (Mets, Orioles). There’s so much baseball left to be played, however, so just like our preseason edition, these newest rankings will also look laughable as early as next month.

It’s always fun to take a snapshot of the current order of teams though, especially when it means we get to move the Yankees down in the rankings.

Without further ado, here’s our mid-April update to the 2018 MLB Power Rankings.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL 2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS