Quick Links

Williams explains decision to hold Scherzer back


Williams explains decision to hold Scherzer back

The Nationals could have started Max Scherzer in Friday night’s second-half opener against the Dodgers, declaring the right-hander their unquestioned ace and workhorse for the rest of the season. Instead, they elected to hold back Scherzer until Sunday’s series finale, a decision manager Matt Williams explained had more to do with long-range planning than instant success.

Scherzer leads the NL with 132 innings pitched and is on pace to throw a career-high 242 innings if he starts every fifth game the rest of the way. He also has tossed three complete games, tripling his career total prior to 2015.

Combine those facts with the fact the Nationals come out of the All-Star break with 30 games scheduled in a 31-day span, and the decision to hold back Scherzer til Sunday became easy.

One, his workload’s been pretty immense as compared to what he’s used to,” Williams said. “Certainly pitch counts are one thing, but ups and innings are different. The fact that he pitched the last game and went into the ninth inning is a factor. One off day in the next 31 days is a factor. So I have to look at it long-term, as we all do, and look at the next 31 days and how much rest he’s going to get, which will be virtually none. This is an opportunity, probably the only opportunity, that we’ll have to give him a couple extra days.”

The decision to hold Scherzer back does have ramifications beyond this weekend. Scherzer now won’t be pitching in next week’s showdown with the Mets, who enter the second half trailing the Nationals by 2 games in the NL East.


New York manager Terry Collins made a point to hold back his three best starters (Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard) for next week’s series at Nationals Park, citing the importance of those games against a division rival.

Williams said such considerations were not a factor when the Nationals set their rotation out of the break.

“We have three games against the Dodgers that we want to win,” he said. “And then we’ve got four games against the Pirates [next weekend] after the Mets that we want to win. So if we get to where we want to get to, it’s going to take five guys, not one. I know there’s a lot made of it, and I can have an opinion about it, and everybody else can too. But if we want to get to the postseason and be a contender in that postseason, we’re going to need all five of the guys.

“We’ve got to give some rest at some point. Granted, he’s our ace. But we’re not looking at the opponent necessarily as we are the long-term of the rest of the season.”

Quick Links

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. 


Quick Links

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.