Max Scherzer came very close to throwing a no-hitter while you were eating lunch. And then, with one out in the eighth inning, everything went to shit. It was a quintessential Max Scherzer game until it wasn’t, and it was yet another display of Dusty Baker’s peculiar judgment.
Scherzer’s no-hitter bid was broken up by a one-out infield single in the eighth. With the Marlins down 1-0, A.J. Ellis hit weak come-backer that bounced off Scherzer’s glove and landed pretty much dead in front of shortstop Trea Turner.
Scherzer got the next out, but then J.T. Realmuto reached when Nationals first baseman Adam Lind bobbled a throw from shortstop on what should have been a routine groundout. Scherzer hit the next batter to load the bases, and then had to face Giancarlo Stanton. Scherzer had thrown 115 pitches at this point, and it felt like a good time for Baker to pull him. Instead, a run came in after Scherzer’s 119th pitch hit the backstop, and then Stanton turned his 121st pitch into an RBI single. The inning ended with Dee Gordon being called out at the plate after the go-ahead run had scored.
The Marlins went on to win the game 2-1, and went home happy.
Scherzer finished with 11 strikeouts and one walk in eight innings, and was presumably left out there to fall apart because Baker couldn’t trust the team’s god-awful bullpen to save the game. Unfortunately, that lack of trust in the bullpen came at the expense of Scherzer’s game (and arm).
Scherzer, by the looks of it from the dugout cam, was livid, maybe at himself, maybe at his skipper. He spent the top half of the ninth pacing the dugout like a wild animal, and then barked at the umpire after a dubious strike call ended the game.
The ending aside, Scherzer had a pretty fantastic day on the mound. The heterochromaniac was just plain mean with his slider:
Scherzer’s been on a hot streak lately, cussin’ and mowing down batters to put up six consecutive starts with 10 or more strikeouts. In total, he’s had nine 10-plus strikeout games this season; he’s made 15 starts.
Scherzer previously threw two no-hitters in 2015, and while it takes a lot of things going just right to create a no-hitter, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him make another run at a no-no this year, given how locked in he’s been all season.
There’s just no competition in the National League for Scherzer right now. He leads the NL in WAR, ERA, strikeouts, FIP—all that good stuff. The most simple indicator of his dominance is his 194 ERA+. Robbie Ray and Clayton Kershaw trail him in the NL with 166 and 159 ERA+, respectively.
To find success against the Scherzer right now you need something like karmic or theistic interference. But today, fatigue got to him, and his skipper failed spectacularly at helping him out. It was one of those ballgames that makes you curse fate for robbing you of a chance to see a beautiful moment. The Marlins, of course, won’t be doing any cursing. After getting dominated for the better part of the afternoon, they somehow escaped with a win. They should probably give Dusty Baker the game ball.