Scherzer first to 17 wins in NL with CG

Nats right-hander notches 11 K's, logs RBI single vs. Cubs

September 8th, 2018

WASHINGTON -- The Cubs and Nationals have been frustrated by the past 24 hours as a steady rainfall led to a long delay on Friday night before eventually setting up Saturday's doubleheader. And the start of Game 1 was pushed back by 2 hours, 10 minutes before Max Scherzer finally jogged onto the field to warm applause from the fans at Nationals Park.
Baseball was finally underway in D.C., and Scherzer made the wait worthwhile. The right-hander tossed his second complete game of the season and 10th of his career to become the first National League pitcher to 17 wins in the Nationals' 10-3 victory.
"I just felt like I was pounding the zone early in the count and forcing action," Scherzer said. "And they were swinging at the first pitch, got some quick outs. I gave up some hits too early in the count and that's how I know how to attack. I can attack with all the pitches, work ahead in the count and force their hand."

The Nationals sent Scherzer home early on Friday before the night dragged on through a pair of rain delays so he could get a full night's rest before pitching on Saturday. He had already fallen asleep by the time Friday night's game was postponed, so he did not find out he would be pitching the early game on Saturday until he woke up in the morning.
And a well-rested Scherzer was brilliant. He retired 15 in a row from the second out in the first inning until he hit with a pitch with one out in the sixth. Scherzer notched 11 strikeouts for his 16th double-digit strikeout game of the year, increasing his Major League-leading total to 271 on the season.
Seeking to complete the game, Scherzer ran into some trouble as the Cubs started the ninth inning with three straight singles, which led to two runs. That brought out manager Dave Martinez to the mound for a visit, although the chat was brief.
"I had plenty in the tank," Scherzer said. "We had been pinpointing some hot games, and for the weather to cool off, you just feel like you had unlimited energy. For me, I still had plenty in the tank."
Martinez added: "I liked what I saw, but I kind of just wanted to hear it from him. We always have conversations and I went out there and said, 'Hey, what you got?' He said, 'I got a lot, let's go.' I said, 'Go get these two outs, it's all yours.'"

Scherzer was afforded that wiggle room because of the Nationals' fast start on offense, with a three-run first inning, knocking starter out of the game after just five batters in his Cubs debut. Juan Soto roped a two-run single past at first base and Matt Wieters added another run-scoring single. Then, Washington broke the game open with a five-run sixth, scoring three unearned runs by taking advantage of some sloppy Chicago defense. The Nationals plated runs on a bases-loaded walk, a popup that dropped in the outfield, a wild pitch, a fielder's choice and a groundout.
The big lead gave Scherzer, who also logged an RBI single, room to navigate the rest of the game with ease in a 111-pitch victory. The outing helped improve Scherzer's case in the chase for the NL Cy Young Award, a race with stiff competition. Once considered the early frontrunner, Scherzer had taken a bit of a step back in his previous few outings, even though he had been solid, if not his usual dominant self.

He took a step forward with his latest gem.
"I can't say enough about him," Martinez said. "Kudos to him and what he went out there today to do. I knew he was fresh going into the ninth inning, he looked good. He had a little bit in the tank.
"He just told me he could pitch Game 2. I told him, 'We're good.'"
The Nationals started an outfield comprised of Soto in left field, in center and in right field, a rare time where the 25-year-old Harper was easily the veteran among the group.
"I saw Soto and Robles out there, and I called them two young spike bucks, and I called Harper an elk," Martinez said. "That's what it was kind of like watching those three guys out there. It was a lot of fun. And I think they really enjoyed playing with each other."
"I like him, he brings a lot of energy, and one thing I like about him is he's very vocal, he loves to play, and he's very vocal in the dugout. He's always cheering, and he pays attention to the game. I told him, 'Hey, go out there and do the little things and have fun.' And just watching him move around and play the game, it's a lot of fun to watch." -- Martinez, on Robles' first start