July 23, 2018

Washington Nationals Spring Training: Scherzer Ks 9, Cards win 1-0

RENDON “IN JEOPARDY” FOR OPENING DAY WITH KNEE INJURY

Max Scherzer struck out nine over six scoreless innings, but the St. Louis Cardinals scratched out a run in the eighth inning to beat the Washington Nationals 1-0 at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Florida.

The only run of the game came in that eighth inning, with Aaron Barrett pitching for the Nats. Barrett hit Kolten Wong with his first pitch of the frame, and Charlie Tilson pinch-ran. Tislon immediately stole second, then went to third on a wild pitch by Barrett. Tilson scored on Ty Kelly’s sacrifice fly.

The Nats went quietly against Jordan Walden in the top of the ninth, as Derrick Robinson, Mike Carp and Sandy Leon all struck out.

Manager Matt Williams said a second MRI of Anthony Rendon’s left knee showed no structural damage, but that his third baseman’s status for opening day is in question due to the lack of activity and at bats.

Williams told reporters in Florida:

“At this point, it’s in jeopardy, because he hasn’t been able to do the baseball activity. That being said, he could come in tomorrow and feel much better, or at the end of this week and feel much better, and we can look at things. But right now, it could be in jeopardy because he simply hasn’t had the baseball activity to get ready.”

Scherzer, though, was scintillating in his six innings of work. In addition to the nine strikeouts, he gave up just three hits and no walks, seemingly in complete control against the Cardinals everyday lineup.

Scherzer’s day started ominously, as he hit Matt Carpenter to start the game. Carpenter was erased by a ground ball double play from Jason Heyward, the next batter, on a nice 3-6-3 play started by first baseman Ryan Zimmerman.

His only tough inning was the fifth. Scherzer allowed a one-out single to Yadier Molina, then a double to Jon Jay to put runners at second and third. But Scherzer then struck out Wong and Michael Wacha to end the threat.

The Nats didn’t get much offense, generating just five hits and once walk against Wacha and a parade of relievers.

NATS NOTES:

  • Yunel Escobar, in his second game of the spring, led off and played second. He went 0 for 3.
  • Ryan Zimmerman, Tyler Moore and Michael Taylor were all 1 for 3. Dan Uggla got a hit in his only at bat.
  • Matt Thornton pitched a scoreless seventh inning, striking out a batter and allowing a hit.
  • Heath Bell, released by the Nats on Tuesday, announced his retirement from MLB.
About Dave Nichols

Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Washington Nationals, Capitals, Wizards and Mystics. Dave also covers national college football and basketball and Major League Soccer for Associated Press and is a copy editor for the Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, WA. He spent four years in radio covering the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Redskins and the University of Maryland football and basketball teams. Dave is a life-long D.C. sports fan and attended his first pro game in 1974 — the Caps’ second game in existence. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveNicholsDSP

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