Scherzer hits 99 three times in All-Star Game
Amped-up Nats ace joins Harper, Murphy, Ramos as NL standouts
SAN DIEGO -- It would have been hard to find a player more excited to be a part of the 2016 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard than Nationals ace Max Scherzer.
That excitement translated on the mound Tuesday night, when Scherzer fired his three hardest pitches of the year during a scoreless sixth inning for the National League in a 4-2 loss to the American League.
:: Complete All-Star Game coverage ::"I was amped, so juiced going out there," Scherzer said. "I could tell as soon as I started my warmup pitches, I'm like, 'Oh my God. I am on full tilt right now.'"
After warming up, Scherzer allowed himself to glance back at the scoreboard at Petco Park to check his velocity. He threw three fastballs that were measured by Statcast™ at 99 mph, 99.1 mph and 99.2 mph, surpassing his previous high of 98.5 mph on June 26.
All four Nationals All-Stars who expected to play -- Scherzer, Bryce Harper, Wilson Ramos and Daniel Murphy -- played in the game. Stephen Strasburg, who announced last week that he would not pitch, watched from the dugout.
Harper collected his first hit in an All-Star Game after going hitless in his previous seven at-bats. It came off Rangers left-hander Cole Hamels, against whom Harper has 37 career plate appearances, the most he's had against any pitcher.
"I think it's cool to get that out of the way and finally get a knock," Harper said. "Being able to face Cole again, faced him a couple times throughout those years in Philly."
Harper stayed in the dugout in full uniform for the rest of the game after he was replaced after four innings. He got to wonder what it would be like if Scherzer was a reliever and share laughs with the numerous Mets players and staff about the same mannerisms they have noticed from Murphy.
And as has become customary for Murphy, who leads the Majors in batting average, he collected two hits.
"Can you not believe it?" Harper said. "The way he's been swinging this year and how confident he is up there."
Ramos entered his first career All-Star Game in the fourth inning and caught Padres left-hander Drew Pomeranz, Braves right-hander Julio Teheran in the fifth and Scherzer in the sixth. During Ramos' lone at-bat, his family proudly held a Venezuelan flag with "W40" at the top for his jersey number from their seats down the third-base line.
"I've waited for this moment for a long time in my career, I did it finally," Ramos said. "I'm really excited for that, all the people shouting my name, it made me feel really really excited."
But still not as excited as Scherzer. After serving as Scherzer's catcher, Ramos joked with his batterymate, "Save it for the second half."
"That's such an experience," Scherzer said. "I'm so jacked up every time I touch the mound. ... It was really fun to be able to pitch in that game."