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Max Scherzer flirts with no-hitter, settles on thorough Scherzing of Reds

Close, but no schigar.

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game

No, Max Scherzer didn't end up no-hitting the Cincinnati Reds on Monday, but he did a damn fine job of coming quite close.  The Washington Nationals ace held the Reds to nothing more than a 1st inning Joey Votto walk until the Top of the 8th inning, and he settled for an 8 IP, 2 H, 1 ER outing in which he struck out 10 batters.

He was the star of this one, hands down.

Honorable Mentions are due to:  Tucker Barnhart, whose 8th inning single made me erase a few hundred words about the Reds getting no-hit on the same day I wrote about how they stunk; Skip Schumaker, who poked a ribbie; Votto, who walked and singled; and Brandon Finnegan, who allowed 3 ER in 5 IP in a start that showed a tad bit of promise.

Key Plays

  • Joey Votto walked in the Top of the 1st.  Small victory.
  • Tyler Moore singled with 1-out in the Bottom of the 4th, and he scored when Matt den Dekker den doinked a den double to RF.  Jay Bruce hosed den Dekker at 3B, though.  Small victory.  Unfortunately, a walk to Dan Uggla, a single to Scherzer, and a single to Michael Taylor plated another run, putting the Reds behind, 2-0.
  • Solo homers from den Dekker in the Bottom of the 5th and Wilson Ramos in the Bottom of the 6th put the Reds further in the hole, and Scherzer retired 14 Reds in a row at one point until they finally got to him slightly in the Top of the 8th.  Barnhart flicked a 1-out single into LF to end the no-hit bid, and he moved to 2B a batter later on a productive grounder off the bat of PH Jason Bourgeois.  That helped the Reds get a run when Skip followed with a single up the middle that allowed Barnhart to motor home.  Reds trailed, 4-1.
  • Another den Dekker double led to the final run of the game, as his two-bagger in the Bottom of the 8th eventually resulted in him scoring on a Reed Johnson sac-fly.  That wrapped the scoring, and the Reds lost, 5-1.
Tony Graphanino Bat Graph (since FanGraphs apparently deemed this game non-existent)

Other Notes
  • Votto's walk extended his on-base streak to 45 games.  Superlative, superlative, sugars-up word, swoon, giggity, superlative, superlative.
  • Reed Johnson still plays baseball, apparently.  I'd have lost that bet.
  • Just one day after Bryce Harper and Jonathan Papelbon meatheaded out in the Nationals dugout over something dumber than elementary school kids fight about, neither played.
  • This game probably never needed to be played, but it was anyway.  Both teams sit woefully out of playoff position, the $200 million left on Scherzer's contract probably didn't need to see him throw 112 pitches in late September, and day baseball on a Monday is an economic shin-kick, but the make-up was put together after all.
  • Just six games remain on the schedule, and the Reds will have their work cut out to not finish the season on a fifteen game losing streak.  Said streak has now reached nine, and a trio of games against both the playoff-bound Chicago Cubs and division title seeking Pittsburgh Pirates remain.  Remember how Dusty Baker was fired after a late season slide showed ownership that he'd lost the fire of the team?  I wonder what they think of Bryan Price at this point given that context.
  • Tunes.