On Saturday afternoon, Max Scherzer was named the National League Pitcher of the Month for the second straight month.
A few hours later, he led the Washington Nationals to another dramatic victory.
Just another day at the office for the three-time Cy Young award winner, right?
Max Scherzer fuels an unlikely rally
Scherzer’s contributions this time around didn’t come on the pitcher’s mound. Instead, he was called on as a pinch hitter in the 14th inning with Washington locked in a marathon with the Atlanta Braves.
Like LeBron James has done so often during the NBA postseason, Scherzer proceeded to take matters into his own hands. The longtime ace started the one-out rally with a single. Two batters later, he raced home from first with what proved to be the game-winning run in the Nationals 5-3 victory on Wilfer Difo’s RBI triple.
— MLB (@MLB) June 3, 2018
It was almost as if Scherzer temporarily morphed into a combination of Tony Gwynn and Usain Bolt.
OK, that might be stretching it. But he was clearly determined to help Washington end the game right then and there. We think we have a pretty good idea why too.
Max Scherzer is all about the Stanley Cup Final
Especially the Washington Capitals.
Best part of having a DH tonight is that I can stay in the Clubhouse and watch the Caps game while we hit! #ALLCAPS
— Max Scherzer (@Max_Scherzer) May 31, 2018
Scherzer posted that tweet Wednesday, shortly after securing his 150th career victory in an outing against the Baltimore Orioles. His outing actually overlapped with Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final — which Washington won 3-2 against the Vegas Golden Knights — and he was admittedly checking it out every chance he got.
We can’t help but think Scherzer wanted to present that opportunity to hockey-loving Nationals fans for Game 3 on Saturday night. Not to mention his teammates. That even includes Golden Knights supporter Bryce Harper.
The 14-inning game in Atlanta ended just in time for fans to catch Pat Sajak’s pregame introductions in Washington. The timing couldn’t have been any better.
Is Max Scherzer actually a good hitter?
You could say he’s pretty decent for a pitcher. His .192 career average is definitely better than most other pitchers. At the very least, he’s a competitive hitter with a quality mindset at the plate.
Here’s how Scherzer explained his approach on Saturday.
Max Scherzer with a hitting lesson many others could use: "I'm not going to be hitting the ball out of the ballpark. I know that. I've got a high school swing. I know that. But you know what? It's good enough to get a ball in play. Something happens."
— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) June 3, 2018
Honestly, a lot of players could learn from that approach.
Scherzer, who hit his one and only home run last season, has definitely been good at getting the ball in play. He’s only struck out four times in 29 plate appearances this season.
Obviously, Scherzer is a competitive player and a terrific athlete. He’s certainly one of the best in MLB. We’re not suggesting he needed any extra motivation to come through on Saturday. But if he had that motivation, it clearly didn’t hurt.
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