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Notes on Scherzer's career day, one of the best in Nats history


Notes on Scherzer's career day, one of the best in Nats history

When the Nationals signed Max Scherzer to a record $210 million contract this past offseason, they hoped his best was yet to come. It's only been 13 starts, but so far that's in some ways been the case.

Scherzer continued his impressive 2015 season with the best start of his eight-year MLB career on Sunday; a one-hit, 16-strikeout and one-walk masterpiece of nine shutout innings against the Milwaukee Brewers. Scherzer carried a perfect game into the seventh inning before a Carlos Gomez bloop flyball sailed over the head of Anthony Rendon in shallow right field.

The hit itself was one you don't see very often. Scherzer threw an inside fastball right on the hands of Gomez, yet somehow he lofted a softly-hit single to opposite field past Rendon. It was the furthest hit ball against Scherzer on the day and it traveled no more than 200 feet.

Sunday is by most accounts the second-best pitching performance in Nationals history, second of course to Jordan Zimmermann's no-hitter on the final day of the 2014 season. But if you want to really get technical, the final out of Zimmermann's no-no - a long almost-double to left-center field - was squared up better than any swing against Scherzer on Sunday.

It may be nonsense to suggest a one-hitter is better than a no-hitter, but here are some notes to consider on Scherzer's memorable day:

- Scherzer had the longest perfect game bid in Nats history (6.0 IP), the second-longest is a tie at 5 1/3 innings between Zimmermann on June 8 of 2014 and Tanner Roark on May 26 of 2014.

- Scherzer's 16 strikeouts were a career-high, a Nationals single-game record and are tied for the second-most by any MLB pitcher this season.

- Sunday was Scherzer's second career complete game and the third time he has allowed just one hit in a start.

- Scherzer is just the second pitcher in the last 13 seasons (2003-2015) with 16 strikeouts in a shutout. The other was Brandon Morrow in 2010, when he was with the Blue Jays.

- Scherzer is the fifth pitcher in the last 25 seasons (1991-2015) with a complete game shutout, one hit or fewer and 16 strikeouts in a game. The others were Morrow (2010), Curt Schilling (2002), Kerry Wood (1998) and Nolan Ryan (1991). Ryan also did it three other times in his career.

- Scherzer is just the third pitcher ever to throw a one-hit shutout with 16 strikeouts or more and one walk or less. Ryan and Wood were the other two.

- Based on Bill James' game score, Scherzer pitched one of the greatest games of all time. He became just the 12th player in MLB history to post a 100 game score. The perfect game, for comparison, has only been accomplished 23 times.

Scherzer now sits 7-5 with a 1.93 ERA through 13 starts on the season with 113 strikeouts in 93 1/3 innings pitched. Up until this year, Scherzer had never held a sub-3.00 ERA through his first 13 starts in a single season. He has been nothing short of dominant this year and is showing no signs of slowing down.

CSN researcher Rich Goldberg contributed to this story

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Can slumping Nationals, Gio Gonzalez end losing streak Monday vs. Padres?

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Can slumping Nationals, Gio Gonzalez end losing streak Monday vs. Padres?

When the Washington Nationals visited San Diego on May 7-9, they won the first two games of a three-game series to move within 1 1/2 games of the National League West lead.

At the time, the Nationals were on a bit of a run and the Padres were reeling with a 13-24 record.

Two weeks after that series, the Padres and Nationals meet again in Washington, D.C (7:05 p.m. ET, Monday). And the fortunes of the two teams have changed a bit.

Since winning that series finale at Petco Park to avoid being swept by the Nationals, the Padres have gone 7-4 and are riding a three-game winning streak.

The Nationals have gone 4-4 and just lost a third straight game to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday in Washington to slip four games off the lead in their division.

The Nationals are the home team this time for a three-game series that opens Monday night with a matchup of left-handers -- Gio Gonzalez (4-2, 2.36 ERA) going for Washington with Robbie Erlin (1-2, 3.46) making a spot start for San Diego.

On paper, the pairing clearly favors the hosts.

Erlin, 27, has met the Nationals twice in his career. Both games were at Nationals Park. Erlin is 0-2 in the matchups with a 16.39 ERA.

In Erlin's two previous outings in the nation's capital, Erlin has given up 17 runs, 19 hits and six walks with six strikeouts in 9 1/3 innings. The Nationals have hit .413 against Erlin, who has a 2.68 WHIP against Washington.

This will be only the second start of the season for Erlin, who returned this year after having Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery midway through 2016.

Thirteen of Erlin's 14 appearances this season have been out of the bullpen. His one previous start was April 16 against the Dodgers. He gave up six runs (five earned), seven hits and two walks with four strikeouts in three innings.

Erlin is filling the vacancy created when rookie left-hander Joey Lucchesi went on the disabled list with a slightly strained glute. The Padres are hoping Lucchesi will miss only one start, although it looks like it could now be two or three.

Gonzalez is no stranger to the Padres. He started the May 9 game that the Nationals lost 2-1. Gonzalez allowed one run, five hits and three walks in six innings. Afterward, he said he struggled with his command.

Gonzalez was not involved in that decision. During his career, he has made seven starts against the Padres and has a 3-2 record with a 3.21 ERA, a 1.357 WHIP and a .253 opponents' batting average. Against the Padres, Gonzalez has given up 19 runs (15 earned), 41 hits and 16 walks with 41 strikeouts in 42 innings.

When the Nationals were in San Diego, first baseman-left fielder Matt Adams went 3-for-8 with a double, two homers, six RBIs and three runs scored -- although he got the third game off.

Since leaving San Diego, Adams has hit only .143. Washington's Bryce Harper is hitting .125 in the last eight games with a homer and three RBIs.

Another key player in the first Padres-Nationals series was Howie Kendrick, who was 5-for-12 with a double and two runs scored. But Kendrick has been lost with a ruptured Achilles tendon and on Saturday the Nationals promoted a 19-year-old prospect from Double-A.


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Soto makes debut in Nationals loss to Dodgers


Soto makes debut in Nationals loss to Dodgers

WASHINGTON  -- Kike Hernandez and Yasiel Puig each hit two-run homers, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Washington Nationals 7-2 on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.

Hernandez's blast off Stephen Strasburg in the fifth inning put the Dodgers up 3-2. Yasmani Grandal also homered off Strasburg (5-4), who allowed three runs and five hits over 6 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts.

Alex Wood (1-4) pitched six innings, allowing just three hits and two earned runs. Wood came out to start the seventh, but returned to the clubhouse after showing some discomfort during his warm-up tosses.

Trea Turner homered for Washington, which swept Arizona last weekend and then went five days without playing a full game because of rain before getting swept by the Dodgers.

Los Angeles, after losing six consecutive games, has now won four straight overall and five of six over Washington this season.

Washington's Juan Soto, at 19 the youngest active player in the majors, made his debut in the eighth as a pinch-hitter and struck out against Erik Goeddel.

The Dodgers added two runs in the ninth. Josh Fields recorded the final four outs for his second save of the season.


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