Nats' All-Stars: Scherzer's 7th, Rendon's 1st

June 30th, 2019

DETROIT -- The duo selected to represent the Nationals in the 2019 All-Star Game will come into the game with vastly different experiences. For Nationals ace , this will be his seventh consecutive trip to the Midsummer Classic, and he has a strong case to start the game for the National League for the third straight year. And he will be joined by third baseman , who has been one of the best players in baseball for years but was finally named an All-Star for the first time.

“You're in a clubhouse full of the best players in the game across the world,” Scherzer said. “To be in that clubhouse is a really special feeling. I'm really happy for Rendon as well, to have this be his first All-Star Game as well. That's really cool for him, and I'm glad he gets to enjoy this.”

For those around the Nationals’ organization. this selection for Rendon is long overdue.

Players, coaches and front office members had been baffled at how Rendon so routinely had been snubbed. He has had two seasons in which he has posted more than a 6.0 WAR, has garnered some support for the National League Most Valuable Award and has been one of the most consistent players in baseball on both sides of the ball. But the All-Star Game had eluded him.

Then Rendon, who is set to be a free agent at the end of the season, stormed out to what has been the best first half of his career. He collected another pair of hits and hit the go-ahead home run in the eighth inning of Sunday’s 2-1 victory over the Tigers to improve his overall slash line to .311/.398/.630 with 19 home runs.

Rendon has been vocal about his at-times indifference toward being selected, saying last month he would “love to be an All-Star without going.” But he did acknowledge after Sunday’s game that he was honored to be named to the NL team, although he followed it up with the caveat, “If I decide to go.”

“I mean, you grow up and you play like T-ball and whatnot, and you get your All-Star T-shirt, and it's pretty cool,” Rendon said. “My parents still have my brother’s and I's, so it's pretty funny when they dig them up from the attic. But definitely very appreciative of being selected.”

Rendon has been one of the best players not only in the National League, but in all of baseball. Just three players own a higher OPS than Rendon’s 1.028 -- Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers, Christian Yelich of the Brewers and Mike Trout of the Angels. Rendon’s 158 wRC+ is fifth in all of Major League Baseball. He has accumulated 3.2 WAR, tied for the 11th highest in MLB, despite the fact that he missed 14 games with a bruised elbow earlier in the season.

“His teammates were really happy for him and his family, they really were,” manager Dave Martinez said. “Like I said before, it amazes me that he hadn’t been an All-Star and this was his first one, so I told him just go out there, have fun and enjoy it.”

Rendon did admit to dealing with some “nicks and bruises” after Saturday’s 7-5 loss to the Tigers, and Martinez has told him to “be smart” on the basepaths. So, Rendon did float the notion that he would like to take a few days off during the break to heal his body and be ready for the Nationals to attempt to make a postseason push in the second half.

“I hear it's no rest, so that's not a good thing,” Rendon said about the All-Star Game. “They said your schedule is jam-packed, and you're going to events or you're doing interviews or whatever it might be. So, it seems like it's right up my alley.”

Scherzer, meanwhile, is no stranger to the extravaganza, but that hasn’t put a damper on his excitement. Only Trout, who has been named to eight straight All-Star Games, has a longer streak among active players.

Scherzer has started the game three times in his career, for the American League as a member of the Tigers in 2013 and the past two seasons for the NL. On Sunday, he was not ready to think about starting a third straight game after Sunday, preferring to focus on his final start of the first half this week, but he will certainly have a strong case to take the bump in the first inning once again.

Scherzer leads the NL in strikeouts (170) and innings pitched (122 1/3), ranks second in homers per nine innings (0.66) and is third in ERA (2.43). His 2.07 FIP is the best in the Majors. Scherzer just tossed eight innings of one-run ball with 14 strikeouts against the Tigers on Sunday, capping one of the best months of his career -- 6-0 with a 1.00 ERA and 68 strikeouts in six starts in June.

And there will be few players more excited for the stage than Scherzer, who relishes facing the best competition in the sport and getting a chance to see how his best matches up against the best.

“To be selected to the All-Star Game, it's so cool,” Scherzer said. “It’s such an honor to be recognized among everybody. For this to be seven, it's amazing. It's crazy that this is happening. But you just take it. I know it's a party. I'll be going to Cleveland ready to party.”

The 2019 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard will be played on Tuesday, July 9, at Progressive Field in Cleveland. It will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 180 countries. FOX Deportes will provide Spanish-language coverage in the United States, while ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage. MLB Network, and SiriusXM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage.