A prime candidate to be moved by Friday’s trade deadline, Max Scherzer wrote a fabulous farewell story on Thursday in what could be his last start with the Nationals
Max Scherzer walked off the mound at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia on Thursday after pitching six stellar innings and embraced his teammates. They were hugs and fist bumps for a solid job against the Phillies, but they may also have been a way to say goodbye.
If this was the end of Scherzer’s time with the Washington Nationals, what a way to go out. He gave up only one run and picked up the win in a 3-1 Nationals victory to begin a doubleheader. He showed no signs of the triceps strain that kept him from making his previous start. Scherzer hit 97 mph with his fastball and struck out five, the only blemish on his record a solo home run by J.T. Realmuto leading off the fourth inning.
It was Scherzer’s 92nd win in a Nationals uniform, second-most behind Stephen Strasburg since the franchise moved to the nation’s capital. He’s behind only Strasburg in strikeouts. His 2.80 ERA is more than 40 points lower than any other pitcher who’s made at least 50 starts for the Nationals.
Scherzer joined the Nationals before the 2015 season on a seven-year, $210 million deal. It proved to be money well spent. Nationals fans will always have the memories he gave them: his two no-hitters, the Cy Young Awards, the time he pitched seven shutout innings with a black eye the day after breaking his nose during batting practice. And then there was the 2019 World Series when Scherzer took the ball for Game 7 and delivered a championship to DC.
Scherzer’s time in Washington likely coming to an end
That contract, though, expires after this season. The Nationals, seven games below .500 and not likely to contend for a playoff spot, are looking to trade their Cooperstown-bound ace before Friday’s deadline. Scouts from opposing teams were in Philadelphia to watch him pitch on Thursday. It should be a time of sadness, knowing he’s liking leaving the place he’s called home for the past seven seasons, but Scherzer is choosing only to focus on all the good things that have happened to him in Washington.
“This is where my family started. I came here without kids, now I’ve got three kids,” he said following his start, according to the Washington Post’s Chelsea Janes. “It’s been a very fun experience for me being in DC. What can you say about the fans? That’s where that championship will always mean something to all of us.”
Scherzer has expressed his wish to be traded to a contender, preferably on the West Coast. The Dodgers, Padres, and Giants are all potential landing spots. So is Boston. Scherzer, with 10-and-5 rights, can veto any trade and choose where he wants to go.
His next start will almost certainly be in another uniform. But what a ride it’s been for the Nationals. He went out the only way he knows how: by dominating.