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Methodical maniac Max Scherzer prepares for everything, throwback uniforms included

Methodical maniac Max Scherzer prepares for everything, throwback uniforms included

There may not be a player in all of Major League Baseball that is more methodical about their pregame ritual than Nationals' ace Max Scherzer.

Scherzer is enjoying one of the best stretches of his career right now, and was just announced as June's National League Pitcher of the Month.

The Nationals won all six of his starts in June, as Mad Max posted a 1.00 ERA with 68 strikeouts.

As the Nationals hope Scherzer's June success trickles into July in well past that, something will be a little different the next time he takes the mound.

Scherzer is scheduled to start on Saturday, July 6, the day the Nationals will wear the former Montreal Expos powder blue uniforms to celebrate the franchise's 50th anniversary. This will be the first time since the move to Washington that the franchise will sport any Expos gear.

So, Scherzer, who is a stickler for a routine in between starts, had to make a slight adjustment.

Known as someone who likes to do everything to a tee to simulate a live game as much as possible, Scherzer wore an Expos uniform on Wednesday while throwing a side bullpen session.

This isn't the first time that Scherzer has done something like that. During Spring Training in 2015, Scherzer sang the National Anthem before throwing his first batting practice session, attempting to replicate throwing in a real live game as much as possible.

"He always takes that break for the national anthem when he prepares to go start a game," Nationals then-manager Matt Williams said at the time. "He wanted to take the break, so we hummed it for him and made him feel comfortable in that regard so he could go out and do his live BP."

If little things like these are the reason Scherzer is so dominant on the mound, then the Nationals should be all for it.

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Max Scherzer vs. Justin Verlander spring training matchup: Time, TV Channel, How to Watch

Max Scherzer vs. Justin Verlander spring training matchup: Time, TV Channel, How to Watch

Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander never faced each other last fall when the Nationals beat the Houston Astros in seven games to win the World Series.

It was a matchup between two former Detroit Tigers teammates that fans would've loved to see, but they'll have to settle for a February spring training game instead.

Scherzer and Verlander will take the hill for their respective clubs on Thursday as the defending pennant winners gear up for the start of the 2020 season.

Here's everything you need to know before first pitch Thursday night.

Nationals vs. Astros spring training matchup: How to Watch

Who: Washington Nationals vs. Houston Astros
What: Grapefruit League game with Max Scherzer vs. Justin Verlander
When: Thursday, February 27, 2020 at 6:05 p.m. ET
Where: FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, West Palm Beach, FL
TV Channel: You can watch Nationals vs. Astros on MLB Network
Radio: 106.7 The Fan (until 7:45 p.m. ET)

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Juan Soto hits his first home run of spring training

Juan Soto hits his first home run of spring training

When asked last week what his spring training goals were, Juan Soto simply said: "to make the team."

Soto doesn't need to worry about his spot given his status as one of the league's best young players, but he began to make his case with an opposite-field home run on Tuesday. 

During the 2019 season, the lefty showed his ability to hit for power all over the field. Of the 37 home runs Soto hit between the regular season and playoffs, 20 were to the opposite side of the field, according to Fangraphs' spray chart.

After the ball left his bat Tuesday, Soto began his trot around the bases as the ball sailed over the fence in left-center field. 

His trot around the diamond looked as comfortable as he should feel with his standing on the Nationals' roster, but it's promising to see a young star resist complacency.  

After hitting .282 with 34 home runs and 110 RBIs last season, Soto's spring training blast is only a preview of what's to come when the reigning champions defend their title this season. 

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