The Miami Marlins returned home riding a four game winning streak and a 5-2 road trip but immediately ran into the buzzsaw that is Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer.
Scherzer notched his 89th career 10+ strikeout game on Tuesday, leading the Nationals’ 6-1 win over the Marlins. It was also his third consecutive 10-strikeout game and in his last seven starts, Scherzer (7-5) is 5-0 with a 0.92 ERA. Not even a black eye and broken nose can stop him.
“You’ve got to come down here and you might not have many fans in the stands, there’s no atmosphere here, but you’ve got to mentally bring it every single time,” Scherzer said.
“They know how to play in this atmosphere and that’s what they’re really good at, catching you and grinding you away. It’s happened to me coming down here. I was fully aware of that and I wanted to come out there and really put an `A’ game against them,” he said.
I’ve never done this before, but it’s time I get some things off my chest that need to be said. So here we go. My first real thread…
— Glenn Geffner (@GlennGeffner) June 23, 2019
This is the first home game since radio broadcaster Glenn Geffner went full William Wallace on Twitter after the Marlins’ series sweep in Philadelphia. The announced crowd of 7,327 was actually the second highest attendance mark on a Tuesday home game in Miami. So there’s progress.
Heterochromatic eye contact is an important life skill, kiddos. pic.twitter.com/V2SLW22Emu
— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) June 26, 2019
This game wasn’t without it’s episode of drama. The only Marlins hitter with any success against Scherzer was shortstop and leadoff hitter Miguel Rojas had a little beef brewing during the game. He got the first hit of the game in the first inning and in the third inning, he got hit in the thigh by a pitch (which also hit catcher Kurt Suzuki) after hitting a ball back to Scherzer that was thrown during a timeout.
Rojas was ejected along with manager Don Mattingly by home-plate umpire Mike Estabrook in the eighth inning after disputing a called third strike pitch, Scherzer’s 10th strikeout. He sprinted out of the dugout and onto the field toward Estabrook, with Mattingly beside him trying to contain the fury.
“I wasn’t happy with that call, strike three right there,” Rojas said. “I feel like sometimes they make calls because sometimes the game is a little [lopsided] right there. You don’t know if you can come back. I thought it was inside. I had a lot of feelings during the game.”
Mattingly defended Rojas and said that the frustration was over the strike zone established by the umpire. He noted that there is possibly a bias that favors the long established veteran like Scherzer and gives him more room to work with, while tightening the zone for younger pitchers like Trevor Richards and rookie Zac Gallen.
“For us, you’ve seen it a little bit in St. Louis, when you get Wainwright and somebody out there,” Mattingly said. “It seems like every pitch they throw close is a strike, and then we’ve got Gallen going and everything has to be over the plate 100 percent, and we’re not getting it. Miggy, basically, is right. He’s basically saying, ‘Hey, we’re still playing. We still have a game going.’ Max is plenty good enough, he doesn’t need help.”
Speaking of Gallen, he will make his second career start on Wednesday against Patrick Corbin.