Tuesday night Max Scherzer threw nine perfect pitches to strike out the sides against the Tampa Bay Rays giving him his second immaculate inning of his career. Scherzer is the fifth pitcher in MLB history to have the talent to pull it off twice. What’s more impressive about the National’s ace pitcher is the first time he pitched immaculately was just last season. Scherzer continues to prove why he’s a back-to-back Cy Young winner in the NL, and already on pace to win his third in a row this year.
Max Scherzer’s value with the Washington Nationals is significant. It has been the elephant in the clubhouse that Bryce Harper wants to be traded after the 2018 season. The best way to keep Harper on the Nats is by paying him the contract he would feel is worth staying for. That would cause an issue down the road when it’s time to pay Scherzer’s contract extension. At this point, Scherzer is pitching better than anybody in the NL — possibly in all of MLB. That includes monumental names like Kershaw and Kluber. Depending on where Harper goes might also change the outlook of the Nationals’ future.
The Nationals have dominated the NL East for a few years now. There hasn’t been much competition among the division until recently. The Nats would easily glide into the post-season only to be knocked out immediately every year. Towards the end of last season Bryce Harper expressed the outlook of his career of possibly heading towards the Chicago Cubs. The frustration with the club is understandable, but with Max Scherzer pitching as great as he is, there has to be a little faith left in there.
Losing Harper would leave an open gap in their slugging department for a while. Already with 18 homeruns this year, it’s hard to replace such a dominant hitter. Washington still has talent in its lineup to still give pitchers like Scherzer run support. Players such as Trea Turner, Anthony Rendon, and young Juan Soto. With the Atlanta Braves currently leading the NL East, and a talented Phillies team on the rise, would it possibly be better to try and trade Harper before the deadline? It’s a high-risk move that almost asks to throw away the rest of the season and put it in a wash. The Washington Nationals doesn’t seem like a team that will want to lie on its back and accepts defeat.
This year will be the most competitive season the Nationals have faced in a long time. Despite the slumps and struggles they may go through, the team can always rally behind Max Scherzer — the best pitcher in baseball.