Miami Marlins

It’s all Max Scherzer as Marlins fall to Nationals ace for fifth time

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 25: Starting pitcher Max Scherzer #31 of the Washington Nationals throws a first inning pitch against the Miami Marlins at Nationals Park on September 25, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 25: Starting pitcher Max Scherzer #31 of the Washington Nationals throws a first inning pitch against the Miami Marlins at Nationals Park on September 25, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) Getty Images

Many believe the Cy Young Award is Jacob deGrom’s to lose. His irresistibly-low ERA is impossible to ignore.

But if the Marlins had a say in the matter, they’d likely cast their vote for Max Scherzer, who has carved them up all season and did so again on Tuesday in the National’s 9-4 victory.

With his latest lockdown job on them, Scherzer became the second pitcher to post five wins in a season against the Marlins, improving to 5-0 in their head-to-head meetings. The Mets’ R.A. Dickey also went 5-0 against the Marlins in 2012. Dickey won the Cy Young that year.

“I think it’s fun for our guys, that challenge with him, because it’s the best,” said Marlins manager Don Mattingly. “I think that challenge is good for hitters. It lets you know where you’re at.”

Scherzer even closed out Tuesday’s fine performance by whiffing Austin Dean for his 10th strikeout of the night and 300th of the season. He joined Walter Johnson as the only pitchers in Washington baseball history to reach that milestone. Johnson did it in 1910 and 1912.

But the milestone K did not come without a determined fight from Dean, who fouled off four straight full-count pitches before Scherzer was finally able to put him away.

“I didn’t realize it was his 300th strikeout until everybody was up in the stands cheering,” Dean said. “I was, like, what’s going on? I’ll be on TV for the next couple of years. I had a good at bat with him and he’s a helluva pitcher. You can see the year he’s having.”

For the record, Scherzer finished with a 2.12 ERA against the Marlins to go with his perfect won-loss record. In contrast, deGrom went 0-2 with a 3.12 in four starts against the Marlins.

The Marlins scored their only run off him Tuesday on Brian Anderson’s RBI double in the fourth.

Inexperienced rookie Jeff Brigham was no match for his pitching counterpart. He gave up a three-run home run in the first inning to Anthony Rendon, walked four batters, and was done after four.

“It started off bad and really could have been a lot worse,” Mattingly said.

Mattingly said there’s no comparison between Scherzer and any of the Marlins pitchers at the moment.

“He’s at a different level right now than our guys,” Mattingly said.

It only grew worse for the Marlins after Brigham came out of the game. The Nationals broke it open with six runs in the seventh off Tyler Kinley and Nick Wittgren.

Peter O’Brien cracked his fourth home run, a two-run shot in the eighth, and Christopher Bostick drove in a run in the ninth to complete the scoring.

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