WASHINGTON – Max Scherzer, the three-time Cy Young Award winner whose remarkably enduring arm prompted the Washington Nationals to win the 2019 World Series title, left his start on Friday night against the San Francisco Giants after just 12 shots due apparent injury.
Scherzer, 36, pulled out the first batter of the game before Nationals manager Dave Martinez and athletic coach Paul Lessard came to the mound. After consulting them, Scherzer threw a warm-up throw, then made a quick left turn towards the dugout of the Nationals.
His departure has important ramifications for the Nationals and, perhaps, next month’s trade deadline landscape. Scherzer is in the final season of a seven-year, $ 210 million contract, in which he won the 2016 and 2017 National League Cy Young Awards and finished two more in the top three. Perhaps most notably, he started Game 7 of the 2019 World Series after being struck out of Game 5 with a crippling nerve injury to his neck.
The Nationals won that game and their only series title in a year, Scherzer has been placed on the injured list twice due to back pain.
But this season, the Nationals are 25-33 for Friday’s game with the Giants. While they are far from being in contention in the surprisingly mediocre National League of the East, any further fall in the discord could prompt them to place Scherzer in the commercial market, where he would immediately become the most prized commodity of the country. Game.
It all – the Nationals’ hopes, Scherzer’s business value followed by his pending free agency – fell into doubt with a surprising mound exit.
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Scherzer was replaced on the mound by swingman Paolo Espino, who will likely not be available for Saturday’s doubles schedule, the two seven-end games necessitated by a rain on Thursday. The Nationals had yet to announce a starter for Game 2.
Scherzer’s arm has been remarkably resilient over a 14-year career that will send him to Cooperstown.
He has 180 wins and 2,888 strikeouts; he recently passed Jim Bunning for 19th on the all-time roster, but was publicly ambivalent about the stage, noting the relative ease with which strikeouts are scored around this time.
He will be 37 next month and leaves no doubt that he intends to keep going until 2022 and beyond.
Suddenly, 2021 is in doubt.