Somebody call for help, there's a seething, grunting maniac on the loose for the Nationals
Look at this man. Look at his elbow! What is he doing?
With the Nationals down 2 games to 1 in the NLDS on Monday night, with the franchise facing yet another elimination from the playoffs, the team decided to unhook the chains, open the cage and unleash a monster upon the Los Angeles Dodgers. They knew the kind of seething, foaming, grunting madness they'd get, but they had no other choice.
Of course, Max Scherzer had been mad before. It's hard to find a time when he's not mad on the baseball field. He pitched with a broken face. He refuses to be taken out of games. He chews on shards of glass instead of gum. (That's not true, but it might be -- I don't know).
But playoff Max Scherzer -- playoff Max Scherzer is a different creature all together.
It's the thing in a dark alley that you see in your nightmares. It's breathing hot air down your neck when you're trying to order a sandwich at the deli at 2 a.m.
"Do I want turkey? No, ham. Am I even hungry? Why am I sweating? What the hell is that beh -- OH GOD NO!"
Scherzer started the Wild Card Game six days ago, he came in as a relief pitcher in Game 2 of the NLDS three days later -- striking out everyone -- and then, on Monday, he threw 109 pitches and struck out seven to get the 6-1 win. He probably could've thrown 200 pitches. Look at him after he gets the last strikeout in the seventh inning -- he almost rips his teammate's hands clean off their bodies with his high-fives.
But he did finally come out and, for now, he's back off the field and out of the public view. The series is tied 2-2 and headed for a deciding Game 5 on Wednesday night.
Although you might think he's done for this series -- and he might even be thinking the same thing -- Wednesday night is a whole two days away. If the team comes calling, if the Dodgers look to be threatening -- the snarling, maniacal beast will be awoken yet again. And this time, it may be the scariest version you've seen yet.
Matt Monagan is a writer for MLB.com. In his spare time, he travels and searches Twitter for Wily Mo Peña news.