Saturday, June 20, 2015

Scherzer One Strike Away From Perfection As Nats Roll 6-0

For five innings, it was a whale of a pitching duel. Max Sherzer set down the first 15 Buccos, and Frankie had surrendered just two hits, one of which was a rocket by Bryce Harper that cleared the fence.

In the sixth, Max kept his magic going, but a strikeout oiled the pump that spit Liriano out. Denard Span struck out with one away, but Francisco delivered a wild pitch to get the swing and Span reached first before Fran Cervelli could track the ball down. That led to a double-single-single-groundout-single sequence and a 5-0 Washington lead.

The way Scherzer was dealing, the game had effectively ended at that point. Washington added another run of Vanimal while Max kept on keepin' on. It got to the ninth, and there were two down and a 2-2 count to Jose Tabata. JT started in an 0-2 hole and was battling, having fouled off several pitches.

Scherzer tossed a slider, and it caught JT in the elbow pad. No question he dropped his arms; maybe he was following the ball or maybe looking to get on base - JT said he was looking for a slider that would ran over the plate - and either way the perfect game bid ended one strike short. (There is no doubt in DC that he leaned in; if JT plays tomorrow, he might as well wear a bulls eye instead of a number). The no-hitter remained, though, as Josh flew out to the track in left.

Screen grab of JT's plunk (image MASN TV)
The Nat righty was classy after the game, saying of the fateful pitch "It backed up on me and clipped him. It's one of those things that happen." We'll see what happens tomorrow; the Buc bats have pretty much been of the whiffle-ball variety lately. Charlie Morton takes on Gio Gonzalez as the Bucs try to avoid a sweep.

  • Scherzer is the first pitcher to lose a perfect game with two outs in the ninth inning on a HBP since Hooks Wiltse in 1908. The last 8-2/3 inning perfecto lost that still resulted in a no-hitter was thrown back in 1970 by the Cub's Milt Pappas (he lost that on a walk & blamed ump Bruce Froemming for blowing a couple of close calls). And man, what a roll by Max - he's given up one hit in his last 18 innings and struck out 26 batters.
  • This is the second perfect game JT has spoiled. In September of 2013, his seventh inning single was the only mark against Andrew Cashner in a 2-0 loss to San Diego.
  • Vance Worley pitched for the first time since he gave up a walkoff homer vs. Atlanta to the first hitter he faced on June 6th. Before that, his last outing was May 31st.
  • Pirate fifth round pick Brandon Waddell of Virginia went five frames against Florida in an elimination game of the college playoffs. He gave up four runs on six hits (two homers) with three walks and three K's. The Cavaliers won 5-4 to advance.

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