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Scherzer's struggles continue in Nationals' 4-3 loss to Marlins

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Scherzer's struggles continue in Nationals' 4-3 loss to Marlins

GAME IN A NUTSHELL: Max Scherzer taking the mound used to be a sure thing for the Nationals. These days, it's anything but.

Scherzer's August struggles continued when the right-hander served up a pair of early homers to the Marlins, putting his team in a hole. He did bounce back to finish his night on a high note, retiring 12 straight, but the Nationals were left trying to rally and get their wayward ace off the hook.

The Nats did chip away at Miami rookie Adam Conley, getting solo homers from Ian Desmond and Wilson Ramos and then a sacrifice fly from Ryan Zimmerman. But they couldn't push across the tying run against the Marlins bullpen, and so they were left stewing over a frustrating loss in the opener of a series they desperately need to take.

HITTING LOWLIGHT: The Nats had the makings of a big rally in the bottom of the seventh, when they loaded the bases with nobody out and knocked Conley out of the game. Rookie right-hander Kyle Barraclough entered to face Zimmerman, who just got under a pitch and sent a fly ball to deep center field, a sac fly that brought home one run and trimmed the deficit to 4-3. That's where the deficit stayed, because Barraclough struck out Desmond on a breaking ball down and away, then after walking Danny Espinosa to load the bases again managed to deflect Ramos' smoked comebacker right to teammate Dee Gordon, who tossed to first to end the inning.

PITCHING LOWLIGHT: Scherzer hasn't been himself lately, we know that. We don't know why, however. Did he burn out throwing so many innings earlier this summer? Is it just bad mechanics? Whatever the case, he has been giving up way more hard-hit balls recently than he did during the season's first half, especially home runs. He gave up two more tonight, making it seven homers allowed in his last four starts alone. To his credit, Scherzer buckled down after that, eschewing his fastball for more offspeed stuff. He wound up retiring the last 12 batters he faced, at least keeping the Nationals in the game. Still, four runs in seven innings is not what this team is looking for from its ace right now.

KEY STAT: After committing 21 errors in his first 84 games this season, Desmond has been charged with only two in his last 38 games.

UP NEXT: Jordan Zimmermann (10-8, 3.54) takes the mound for the second game of the series, at 7:05 p.m. Saturday. It'll be right-hander Tom Koehler (8-12, 3.98) for the Marlins.

MORE NATIONALS: Hip surgery for Span, but Taylor's knee OK

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Mike Rizzo: Nationals are 'aggressively' trying to re-sign Anthony Rendon

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Mike Rizzo: Nationals are 'aggressively' trying to re-sign Anthony Rendon

The Washington Nationals have every intention of trying to reach a long-term deal with Anthony Rendon, GM Mike Rizzo said, looking to quell concern after a report Tuesday that he may be on his way out after the 2019 season.

"Anthony Rendon is a guy that we drafted, developed, signed and watch turn into a star in front of our eyes," Rizzo said on The Sports Junkies Wednesday. "He’s a guy that we’d like to have long-term. We’re certainly going to be aggressive and try to make that happen and hopefully, it will."

Nationals fans are growing anxious after the front office couldn't get a deal done with Bryce Harper, hoping a repeat wouldn't happen with Rendon who has had a breakout career with the Nats.

"We have shown that we’re not afraid to sign our own players, we’re not afraid to sign free agent players, and we’re not afraid to spend money on stars of the game and I don’t think Anthony Rendon would be any different," Rizzo said.

Grant Paulsen said on Tuesday on 106.7 The Fan's "Grant and Danny Show," that he believes the Nationals have missed their opportunity to re-sign Rendon.

"Here's something I heard from someone who recently talked to Scott Boras," Paulsen said. "Apparently, he told that person that the Nationals already missed the boat on getting a deal done with Anthony Rendon." 

Rizzo and the Nationals have already offered Rendon a contract extension in late March, to which he turned down. Since then, nothing has come to fruition. 

"It also takes two to get a deal done," Rizzo said. "We're aggressively trying to sign Anthony Rendon. We’d love to have him here as a National long-term.”

The Nationals look to bounce back after two straight losses to the New York Mets tonight at 7:10 p.m.

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Nationals Roundup: Nats blow multiple leads in frustrating walk-off loss to Mets

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Nationals Roundup: Nats blow multiple leads in frustrating walk-off loss to Mets

The Nationals lost to the New York Mets, 6-5, Tuesday to drop their record to 19-29. 

Consider these news and notes as Washington trudges through its four-game series in New York: 

Players Notes:

NATIONALS: 

Erick Fedde made his first start of the season for Washington Tuesday night and put together a solid outing. The 26-year-old threw five innings of one-run baseball, allowing four hits, a walk, and strikeout. Thirty-one of his 61 pitches were sinkers.

Do you believe in the broadcaster's jinx theory? Perhaps you might after reading up on what Juan Soto did in the 2nd inning Tuesday. Then, later in the 8th, Soto scorched a go-ahead double to deep right notching his 100th career RBI. 

METS: 

Amed Rosario was the hero at Citi Field. His walk-off infield single off Kyle Barraclough was the difference in New York's 6-5 comeback win. 

The Mets got a quality start from starting pitcher Zack Wheeler, who threw seven innings of four-hit ball, three earned runs, two walks, and six strikeouts. 78 of his 118 pitches were thrown for strikes. 

Pete Alonso is lighting it up right now. His game-tying 417-foot home run in the 8th marked his 16th of the season. 

Injuries: 

SP Jeremy Hellickson: hamstring, expected to be out until at least May 31

RP Justin Miller: shoulder, expected to be out until at least May 31

SP Anibal Sanchez: hamstring, expected to be out until at least May 27

OF Andrew Stevenson: back, expected to be out until at least May 24

1B Matt Adams: shoulder, expected to be out until at least May 22

1B Ryan Zimmerman: foot, expected to be out until at least May 23

RP Koda Glover: elbow, expected to be out until at least May 25

RP Trevor Rosenthal: viral infection, Expected to be out until at least May 21

RP Austen Williams: shoulder, expected to be out until at least Jun 13

Coming Up:

Wednesday, 5/22: Nationals @ Mets, 7:10 p.m. ET, Citi Field 

Thursday, 5/23: Nationals @ Mets, 12:10 p.m. ET, Citi Field

Friday, 5/24: Marlins @ Nationals, 7:05 p.m. ET, Nationals Park

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