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Max Scherzer felt he ‘had a couple batters in me’ at end of NLDS Game 5

Max Scherzer felt he ‘had a couple batters in me’ at end of NLDS Game 5

After Max Scherzer labored through seven innings of one-run ball in Game 4 of the Washington Nationals’ NLDS series with the Los Angeles Dodgers, he told reporters the chances of him pitching in Game 5 were essentially nonexistent.

“My arm is hanging right now,” Scherzer said. “That pushed me all the way to the edge and then some.”

And yet, in the bottom of the 10th inning when Sean Doolittle entered the game to protect the four-run lead that had just come courtesy of Howie Kendrick’s grand slam, there was Scherzer in the bullpen. Just two days after he threw 109 pitches and saved the Nationals’ season, he was standing among the team’s relievers looking on as Doolittle closed out the victory.

Washington ended up not needing their ace to even throw any warmup pitches, but Scherzer said Friday afternoon ahead of the Nationals’ NLCS opener in St. Louis that he wasn’t just out there for appearances.

“When I played catch that day—I mean I went in with a zero percent chance I was going to feel good, knowing that the previous day on the flight out to Los Angeles I didn't feel good at all—and when I played catch, I didn't have any red flags through the elbow, the shoulder and the back, three main areas where I would be really concerned about for injury,” Scherzer said. “Those actually felt pretty good.”

“So talking with [pitching coach Paul] Menhart and kind of thinking here like, ‘Hey, if things got crazy here, I might have a couple batters in me. I might be able to give you a couple batters.’ And it's Game 5. Everything's on the line. Obviously, you wanted to use everybody else in the pen, but at that point if there was ever a situation where you needed to get an out or two, I said that I had at least a couple batters in me.”

There’s no telling just how strong Scherzer felt or how many pitches he could’ve thrown, but D.C.’s $210 million man wasn’t willing to sit idly by if the Nationals’ lead began to slip away.

“We had confidence in Doo, but it was one of those all bets are off in Game 5 when it's win or go home.”

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Juan Soto’s titanic home run helps Nationals finally find some offense

Juan Soto’s titanic home run helps Nationals finally find some offense

Reprieves are rarely handed over in Major League Baseball. The day-after-day evolution of a season usually doesn’t leave room for an unearned break. It has to be captured.

Finally, the Nationals found a path to a giddy break Monday night in a 16-4 exhale against the Mets. It snapped a three-game losing streak. It also snapped a glaring inability to score runs early in the season.

Washington brought the worst offense in the major leagues to Citi Field for a four-game series against the Mets. They scored just 35 runs in 11 total games prior, and nine runs in seven losses. The Nationals went from 29th in total runs (they were only ahead of St. Louis, which has played five games this season) at the start of the day to 26th by the end.

RELATED: DAVEY MARTINEZ GIVES PIGGYBACK RIDE TO HELP ASDRUBAL CABRERA CELEBRATE HR

Asdrúbal Cabrera homered twice. Juan Soto hit a home run so far into center field it cleared the Big Apple and stunned Mets announcer Ron Darling. It went 463 feet. Soto said he watched the ball fly out of the park to see if it would land in the metal apple.

“I see it, and it was way far,” Soto said with a laugh.

The pitch was a 77-mph curveball from left-hander Steven Matz. Soto was hitless (0-for-5) against left-handed pitchers coming into the game. He hit Matz’s curveball 108.6 mph to dead center field where only the apple and black tarps reside. Darling said he’s never seen a ball hit to that spot prior.

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Yan Gomes picked up his first two hits of the season on Monday. Cabrera now has three home runs and is hitting .357 (sample-size warning, of course). Soto is hitting .444 since rejoining the team Aug. 5.

Trea Turner also went 3-for-5. He and Adam Eaton have done little at the top of the Nationals lineup to start the season, to the point Eaton was given Monday off against a left-handed starter. Josh Harrison took his place in right field and in the No. 2 spot in the order.

“It’s fun to see the boys break out of it,” Davey Martinez said.

However, this remains a one-game sample size. It’s not consistency, it’s not what the rest of the season has been about, it’s no guarantee of what will happen Tuesday night. But at least it’s a start.

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Nationals manager Davey Martinez gives piggyback ride to help Asdrúbal Cabrera celebrate 2nd homer

Nationals manager Davey Martinez gives piggyback ride to help Asdrúbal Cabrera celebrate 2nd homer

Davey Martinez has a new job: piggyback ride.

Asdrúbal Cabrera hopped on the Nationals manager Monday night following his second home run of the evening. Cabrera took a ride through a jubilant dugout in what became a rout for the struggling Nationals.

Cabrera homered twice Monday.

The idea was also partially a troll of a new member of the Mets, Brian Dozier. Dozier would hop on stout batting practice pitcher Ali Modami following a home run last season and ride through the dugout. Modami opted out of this season.

RELATED: TWITTER HAS FUN AT METS EXPENSE

The Nationals finally had something to dance about in the dugout after scoring 16 runs Monday night in Citi Field. They are 5-7 on the season.

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