During Wednesday night's Nationals-Mets game at Nationals Park, Max Scherzer took the mound looking to record his first win of the 2020 season. But, Scherzer abruptly left the game after just one inning. The veteran right-hander was replaced by right-hander Erick Fedde.
After the game (NYM 3, WAS 1), Scherzer told reporters that a tweaked right hamstring caused him to leave the game early. Scherzer told reporters, including The Athletic's Britt Ghiorli, that he anticipates being ready to make his next start (scheduled for Aug. 11) and explained that sprinting had caused the injury twice now.
One the issues that has arisen during baseball's return after a near four-month long shutdown has been an uptick of pitchers on the injured list. Angels' Shohei Ohtani (forearm) and Astros' Justin Verlander (forearm) were among pitchers affected. But, it appears that this injury isn't one of serious concern to Scherzer:
Scherzer: "I'm really not concerned about this."— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) August 6, 2020
"It's good news to know this is not a major issue with Scherzer," Nationals manager Dave Martinez told reporters after Wednesday's game.
Scherzer (0-1, 2.84 ERA) has garnered a reputation as one of the most successful and durable pitchers in the league, but in his short appearance on Wednesday, his velocity was down a tiny bit, hitting the lower-nineties. He hit 93.3 mph on his fastball, down from 94.4 mph from his last start.
Scherzer gave up a leadoff walk to Brandon Nimmo before giving up a single to Michael Conforto. Scherzer went to 2-0 counts against the first two batters of the game. He then struck out Pete Alonso for the first out of the inning, that was followed up with a sacrifice fly from Dominic Smith and Scherzer got J.D. Davis to ground out for the final out. He faced five batters and threw 27 pitches.
Here's the final line before Scherzer's departure:
Scherzer, a three-time Cy Young winner, posted two more top-3 finished in the Cy Young Award voting in 2018 and 2019. Entering Wednesday, Scherzer's 21 strikeouts in 12 2/3 innings are tied for sixth in the NL The 36-year-old allowed just three hits and three walks while striking out 10 over 7 1/3 scoreless innings in his last start on July 29 against the Blue Jays.
The Nationals split the two-game series with the Mets. Washington took Tuesday's opener (WAS 5, NYM 3) before dropping the series finale Wednesday (NYM 3, WAS 1). The Mets will return to New York to host the Marlins (4-1) for a three-game series at Citi Field, while the Nationals (4-5) will host the Orioles (5-5) for a three-game set.