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Max Scherzer dismisses a 'homecoming' storyline, says he's 'here to win'

Max Scherzer dismisses a 'homecoming' storyline, says he's 'here to win'

Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer is focused on one thing and one thing only: winning.

Scherzer was exceptional in Washington's 3-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series, one that put the Nationals just two wins away from their first World Series berth in team history. The Nats' ace threw seven scoreless innings allowing just one hit, taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning and fanning 11 batters in the process.

Many wondered whether No. 31 would have some extra energy entering Saturday's contest, as Scherzer grew up in Chesterfield, Missouri, approximately 20 miles away from Busch Stadium. When asked after the game whether pitching in his home state gave him an extra boost, the three-time Cy Young winner's answer was simple.

"Hell no," Scherzer said. "I'm here to win."

"All the memory lane stuff, that's for some other time," he continued. "Right now, it's about competing, going out there and trying to win ballgames."

Well, Scherzer put his team in position to do just that, and the Nationals capitalized. Now, they'll head back home for three games, needing just two more wins to advance to the sport's biggest stage.

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Gerardo Parra signs with Japan's Giants, ending short-lived yet sensational career in Washington

Gerardo Parra signs with Japan's Giants, ending short-lived yet sensational career in Washington

Nationals outfielder Gerardo Parra has signed with Japan's Yomiuri Giants, ending his short-lived yet sensational career in Washington, MLB Trade Rumors reported early Wednesday.

Parra, known for his allegiance to "Baby Shark" became the catalyst for good mojo in the Nats' clubhouse. "Baby Shark" became the unofficial anthem of the Nationals' first-ever World Series championship thanks to Parra declaring it his walkup song in June to please his two-year-old daughter. "Baby Shark" quickly took hold and transformed D.C. into a shark frenzy.

"What he's done in that clubhouse has really changed the way these guys go about their business. I mean, it was business. There wasn't a whole lot of -- he made it fun for this team," Nationals manager Davey Martinez said to NBC Sports Washington in October.

"Those guys up there, every one of his teammates love him, love him. All the fans love him. He's just that guy. He's the Parra Shark."

Parra also spent time with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Milwaukee Brewers, Baltimore Orioles, Colorado Rockies and San Francisco Giants before being picked up by the Nats in early May.

Farewell, Parra Shark.

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Report: Stephen Strasburg could re-sign with Nationals before Winter Meetings

Report: Stephen Strasburg could re-sign with Nationals before Winter Meetings

The last time Nationals fans saw Stephen Strasburg, he was standing on a stage in Washington D.C. being forced into a group hug by several teammates.

Now a free agent after opting out of the remaining four years of the extension he signed in 2016, Strasburg has put himself in a position to sign with any team he pleases ahead of next season.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s headed out of the District. MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported Monday that he thinks Strasburg could ink a deal with Washington before the Winter Meetings begin Dec. 8.

This would be a far cry from the trend demonstrated over the last two offseasons, when the biggest names waited until Spring Training to sign mega-deals—some even waiting well into the season.

"A lot of teams want Cole. A lot of teams want Rendon. I think these two guys may move faster because they're not going to have to manufacture markets for them,” Feinsand said on MLB Network. “These guys are in demand. It's going to be a matter of who's willing to give them the most money, but I don't think these two players are going to be the ones who are going into deep February [unsigned]."

The Nationals certainly have the payroll flexibility to sign such a deal after Strasburg, Anthony Rendon and Ryan Zimmerman’s significant salaries all came off the books. Signing Strasburg early would also suit Washington well, giving it the chance to modify its approach to addressing other needs accordingly while most of the other free agents are still on the market.

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