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Professional baserunner Max Scherzer picks up second stolen base of season

Professional baserunner Max Scherzer picks up second stolen base of season

Max Scherzer may be signed for $210 million to take the mound every fifth day, but he takes his hitting duties seriously as a National League pitcher.

The Nats’ ace picked up an opposite-field single in the fifth off Braves reliever Chad Sobotka, and Freddie Freeman didn’t cover first base to prevent him from taking a big lead. Scherzer took full advantage, swiping second for the third stolen base of his career—and second of the season.

Scherzer is now 3-for-3 in his career, making him one of 94 players in MLB history who’s swiped at least three bags and never been thrown out. His first stolen base, which happened back in 2018, came off now-Nationals teammate Kurt Suzuki.

He also tossed 98 pitches in the contest, allowing one run on two hits and two walks with nine strikeouts across six innings of work. It’s the most pitches he’s thrown in a start since July 6.

Washington has been easing Scherzer back into his regular workload since activating him off the Injured List on Aug. 22. Between his strong performances both on the mound and the basepaths, Scherzer is showing all signs of rounding back into form.

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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. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

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