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The Morning Briefing: Nationals get out of a sticky situation, get a curly W

Washington Nationals and Major League Baseball headlines, news, and the latest news for June 23, 2021

Good Wednesday morning, Washington Nationals Fans! 

Thank you for starting the day with us. 

Today’s Game Time Weather via National Weather Service: Sunny, with a high near 77. North wind around 5 mph. This Week’s Games:

  • Wednesday, June 23, 2021: Washington Nationals vs. Philadelphia Phillies; 1:05 pm EST
  • Thursday, June 24, 2021: Washington Nationals vs. Miami Marlins; 7:10 pm EST
  • Friday, June 25, 2021: Washington Nationals vs. Miami Marlins; 7:10 pm EST
  • Saturday, June 26, 2021: Washington Nationals vs. Miami Marlins; 4:10 pm EST

Today’s Top Story: Nationals  get out of a Sticky Situation, get curly W 

Hmm… Where do I start? Let’s talk about actual baseball and then get to the “other stuff” after. 

The Nationals were able to hold on last night and win game one of the quick two-game series against the Phillies in Philadelphia. The team was able to string together a bunch of singles and two RBIs by Yan Gomes, and one by Josh Bell propelled the Nationals to a 3-2 win over the Phillies. Brad Hand was able to get his 16th save of the season after loading the bases in the bottom of the ninth. Hand was able to get two pop-up outs and one ground out to secure the win, but it didn’t come without some drama with the bases loaded. 

In Scherzer’s first game back from the ten-day IL, he was able to pitch five innings, giving up only one run on a Bryce Harper solo homerun in the second.  At the end of his night, Scherzer went five innings, striking out eight, walking three, and giving up two hits. Not bad for a pitcher who earlier in the day was reactivated from the IL. Scherzer’s total pitch count was 106 with 70 of those pitches being strikes.  “The boys came out and played. They kept their composure. We finished the game, and it was a good win for us,” said Davey Martinez in his post-game press conference. Martinez also mentioned that the Nationals could have scored more runs, with the team leaving a total of nine base runners.

“We could’ve scored some more runs, for sure,” he said. “But you’ve got another guy who was pitching for them in Wheeler who’s a tough opponent. After we knocked him out of the game, I thought we’d score some more runs, but … they kept us there.”
Trea Turner, in his post-game press conference, addressed the team’s recent winning streak that has propelled the team to a three-way tie for second place. “I think we’re starting to play how we think we should,” Turner said. “We should win a lot of games, and we’ve got the talent in the room. It’s a matter of executing when we need to and we’ve done that for the last 10-15 games. I think we’re playing good. We just have to keep it going and ride it out as long as possible.” 

At the end of a crazy night, the standings are what matters, and the Nationals still have some serious business to do this afternoon as they look for the sweep against the Phillies when Erick Fedde takes the mound in a 1:05 pm start. Game ON! 

Max Scherzer gets into a sticky situation along with MLB

While the results of the game are what matters, what people are going to remember from last night’s game and social media is the sight of the Washington Nationals’ ace nearly undressing on the mound in mocking fashion after the umpires had to make their third check for foreign substances due to the request of the home team’s manager Joe Giradi, and that’s unfortunate.  

Additionally, fans and observers will remember that after ending his night on the mound in the fifth, as he was leaving the field, Scherzer gave Girardi a serious stare down which then caused the coach to come onto the field wanting to provoke a fight with the whole Nationals team before the umpires stepped in and ejected the Philly manager. In his post-game press conference, Girardi shared with the media why he asked the umpires to check Scherzer for foreign substances.

“I’ve seen Max a long time, since 2010,” Girardi said. “Obviously, he’s going to be a Hall of Famer. But I’ve never seen him wipe his head like he was doing tonight ever. … It was suspicious for me. … I didn’t mean to offend anyone. I’ve just got to do what’s right for our club.” Max Scherzer explained why he was touching his sweaty head during the game (yes we actually have a quote about this topic).

“I was sick of licking my fingers and tasting rosin all night,” he said. “I couldn’t even get sweat from the back of my head because it wasn’t a warm night. So the only part that was sweaty on me was actually my hair. So I had to take off my hat to be able to get some type of moisture on my hand to try to mix with the rosin. For me, that’s the confusing part. I’m just trying to get a grip on the ball. You can watch the previous at-bat. The ball slipped out of my hand and I almost drilled somebody in the face.

Scherzer did not hide his emotions about the new enforcement rules right from the start of his night. As he was walking off the mound between the bottom of the first and the top of the second, he exited the field in the TSA-style screening that we all have become familiar with when flying. 

“I’d have to be an absolute fool to actually use something (illegal) tonight when everybody’s antenna is so far high they’re looking for anything,” Scherzer said. As many are now aware, recently MLB issued a memo with guidelines for umpires to enforce a rule ready on the books about pitchers using foreign substances, and last night was the Nationals’ first experience with the new enforcement.

Hopefully, as the rest of the season goes on, players and managers will act in good faith, as the whole league is to blame for where we are. 

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