Scherzer shrugs off mechanical glitch to prevail
Nationals right-hander walks season-high three but minimizes damage vs. Miami
MIAMI -- Even without his best stuff, right-hander Max Scherzer was locked in during the Nationals' 1-0 victory over the Marlins on Thursday afternoon.
After one of his worst starts of the season, on Friday against the Pirates, Scherzer (11-8, 2.22 ERA) regrouped with seven scoreless innings, walking a season-high three batters while striking out six.
"My arm slot was a little low today," Scherzer said. "That was causing my fastball to be not quite as accurate. I fell behind in some counts. That's frustrating when I'm 2-0. That's the stuff that leads to walks. … I need to clean that up."
The game started with Scherzer retiring 12 of the first 14 hitters he faced. The only time he was in serious trouble was in the sixth inning, when he walked two batters but got Christian Yelich to swing at a changeup and ground into an inning-ending double play.
"I came out and executed, really, all of my pitches," Scherzer said. "I incorporated a little bit different sequencing. I worked with [catcher] Willie [Ramos] a little bit better. There were different things we wanted to do against their guys, and I thought it really worked. I pitched in a little bit more. I did a lot of things where I was able to execute pitches when I needed to. The defense played good behind me."
Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon, acquired from the Phillies on Tuesday, wasn't surprised to see Scherzer in the zone throughout the game.
"Max gave us everything he had," Papelbon said. "I think the thing that Max did well today was, when he needed to make pitches, he made them. That's a true sign of a starting pitcher that knows how to pitch. For us, that's all we need."