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Nats' pitcher goes to paternity list for birth of second child

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Nats' pitcher goes to paternity list for birth of second child

With his wife, Amanda, expecting their second child any day now, Nationals pitcher Tanner Roark was placed on the paternity list Friday afternoon so he can be with her at a Washington-area hospital.

Roark, 28, can take up to three days off as part of MLB's policy on paternity leave. The Nats called up right-hander Taylor Hill to take his place in the meantime.

"I heard from him today," manager Matt Williams said. "He and his wife are at the hospital. Hopefully everything goes well and we'll see what his status is. We'll be able to know more as we get more details."

Roark is 3-2 with a 3.38 ERA through 18 appearances this season, five of them starts. Hill, 26, rejoins the team after getting optioned to Triple-A Syracuse on Thursday. He has a 3.75 ERA through six appearances in 2015.

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Simple is just right for Anthony Rendon and Nationals

Simple is just right for Anthony Rendon and Nationals

WASHINGTON -- Anthony Rendon will keep it simple. With swings, answers, viewpoints. 

Why is he calm in clutch moments? Bigger things going on in life.

What is he trying to do in big moments? Get the barrel to the ball.

What is he looking for? He’s not guessing. Just working off what the pitcher does.

So, that’s it. Simple. And simple became enormously effective Friday in Rendon’s continuing powerhouse season. He drove in two runs which moved the needle four games for the Nationals. Their 2-1 win gave Milwaukee a shove back in the tight wild-card standings. The Brewers are now 3 ½ games behind the Nationals and can’t leave this weekend’s series ahead of them. The Cubs blew a ninth-inning lead in Pittsburgh. They are now 2 ½ games behind the Nationals. Atlanta lost at home against Los Angeles. Washington is 4 ½ games behind the division leaders, three back in the loss column, and, oddly, have three games in hand on Atlanta. 

Washington has won five in a row -- its longest winning streak this season. It is 11 games over .500 for the first time since June 9, 2018. 

All this because Rendon doubled twice to score Trea Turner both times. Patrick Corbin survived six innings of heavy traffic. Daniel Hudson, Hunter Strickland and Sean Doolittle finished the game with few heart palpitations. 

A linchpin to the win was handling reigning National League MVP Christian Yelich. He went 0-for-5 and left four runners on base. Corbin was able to strike him out in the third with runners on first and third. Doolittle was able to strike him out in the ninth with a slider away and a runner on base. Yelich struck out three times and grounded out twice. 

“I think to him your just trying to throw your best [slider], your hard one,” Corbin said. “You definitely don't want to throw a slow one in there. [Mike] Moustakas too, they both hit those pitches well. I knew just try to throw my best ones every time and mix in heaters there. I think he was 0-for-5 tonight. That's pretty impressive by the bullpen to come in get him out a couple more times and hopefully we do it [Saturday] too."

Friday provided a good start to a weekend series still without Max Scherzer. He will pitch a simulated game Saturday instead of a real one. Aníbal Sánchez will start Saturday night. Erick Fedde follows Sunday. 

Rendon will be in the lineup both days. He’ll remain relied upon and steaming toward free agency. Neither issue seems to phase him.

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Max Scherzer will pitch Saturday, just not in a big-league game

Max Scherzer will pitch Saturday, just not in a big-league game

WASHINGTON -- Not yet.

Max Scherzer has not been cleared to throw in a real game. He will be on the mound again Saturday in Nationals Park to throw a second simulation game. After that...TBD.

“We want Max to keep progressing,” Davey Martinez said. “He's doing well. His next progression will be to pitch a sim game [Saturday] again and go from there. This was always part of it. He met with the doctor and we still have to strengthen him, his endurance, to get him through 75-80 pitches. [Saturday], he comes out, see how he goes and comes back and see how he recovers after that.”

This is not what Scherzer (mild rhomboid strain) wanted. He said he was ready to pitch in a game after throwing two innings of a simulation game Tuesday. Scherzer felt another bullpen session would be a waste. Another simulation game or rehabilitation start fell into the same category. Yet, the Nationals’ staff decided a chance to further build strength Saturday was the right option. Scherzer has not pitched in the major leagues since July 25. He’s made just two starts in the past six weeks.

“He feels really good right now,” Martinez said. “Remember when we started this, the biggest thing was to get Max back but to get him back for the duration of the season.”

Why not a minor-league start? Martinez said because they want to “have eyes on him.” Why not four innings of limited Scherzer on Saturday night? Because Martinez doesn’t want to go through that fight, possibly thin the bullpen and risk Scherzer not being built-up enough.

“We want to make sure he's totally good to go,” Martinez said. “One more stint or two more stints of a sim game, then so be it. But we want to make sure when he comes back, he can go out there and have no discomfort; have his endurance and pitch for as long we deem he's ready for.”

And how did it go explaining this all to Scherzer?

“It's...trying,” Martinez said with a smile. “Very trying. He wants to pitch and I don't blame him. I want him to pitch. But we have to be smart and we have to make sure when he comes back he's back with us the rest of the season.”

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