By Matthew Jacobson
While Max Scherzer’s streak of consecutive starts with double digit strikeouts came to an end, he was still his dominant self, allowing just two hits and one run over a six inning start. Scherzer felt the fatigue of his 121 pitch start against the Marlins, where he carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning. There was worry amongst Nats fans when manager Dusty Baker decided to give Scherzer the hook after 6 innings, but at 93 pitches already, you don’t want to run the risk of further damage.
When Scherzer was pulled, many fans were quick to hypothesize how the bullpen would cost the Nationals the game, but the foursome of Enny Romero, Blake Treinen, Oliver Perez, and Matt Albers combined for 3 scoreless innings to end the game, and seal a 6-1 Nationals victory. Especially after last night, where they were so close to pulling off an impressive comeback, this win against the defending champs feels all the more satisfying.
Offensively, the Michael A. Taylor coming out party continued, as the outfielder notched 2 hits and 2 RBI on the evening. Brian Goodwin, another young (ish) National backup outfielder, drove in a run in the first and walked twice. Fans and pundits alike have been critical of Baker’s lineup choice, namely hitting Goodwin or Taylor in the #2 spot, but Goodwin has returned his manager’s faith in him with a string of impressive performances that have the Nats’ offense firing on all cylinders.
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) June 27, 2017
Taylor and Goodwin’s contributions to this lineup make it all the more deadly going forward, and frankly there isn’t a team in the league right now that have the offensive firepower to match the Nationals. Their starting pitching is arguably the best top-to-bottom in the majors, but the one fatal flaw is the bullpen, and as the trade deadline nears, the price for an elite closer will only increase. Whatever excuse management provides for not addressing the need (if it is not addressed) is not good enough. The Nationals have a legitimate shot to win it all this year, and if management and ownership is not invested in putting out the best possible team, we could be in for another postseason flameout.
After splitting the first two games of the series, the Nats look to put a stranglehold on this series. Stephen Strasburg seeks his ninth win of the season against John Lackey. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM.