Today is not a good day for Max Scherzer. When things are coming unraveled during a baseball game, you’re consumed by the moment. But the day after is when you have to start living with it. The former Tigers’ ace came undone in Game 5 of the NLDS on Thursday night through a combination of poor location and horrendous misfortune. Let’s think back to a happier moment instead.
The Washington Nationals postseason futility may have reached its low point. Let’s hope that’s the low point. Scherzer entered the contest to protect a 4-3 lead in the fifth inning. He quickly racked up a pair of quick outs, and looked well on his way to a dominant outing. Then he walked Addison Russell, revealing a little chink in the armor. Somewhere around this point in the game, the gates of hell opened and spewed forth fury and pain enough to drown the Nationals’ hopes for another year.
I mean, just look at this nonsense.
I have never seen a sequence like this... probably because I'm guessing literally no one has ever seen a sequence like this, ever. pic.twitter.com/rlkEteveUk— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) October 13, 2017
Little of this was actually Scherzer’s fault. His catcher, Matt Wieters, had perhaps the worst inning behind the plate of all time. He failed to block a strike three breaking ball against Javier Baez, which allowed Baez to get to first and keep the inning alive. In the process, Wieters threw wildly and pointlessly to first, allowing Addison Russell to race all the way home from second base during the play. Home plate umpire, Jerry Layne, realized that Baez had clipped Wieters with his follow through on the swing, but mis-interpreted the rule and failed to call Baez out. Or, Layne simply missed what happened in chaos of the moment and it wasn’t reviewable. Your guess is as good as mine. Dusty Baker plead his case, but was ignored as the umpiring crew plowed forward in ignorance.
There was controversy. There was buffoonery. The Cubs eventually scored four runs in the inning. And despite a furious attempt to rally against a deeply mediocre Cubs relief corps, the inning proved too much to overcome though the Cubs eventually needed add on runs to actually win the dang thing.
Anyway, it was awful to watch even for those not particularly rooting for the Nationals. Let’s do Scherzer a favor and look to a happier moment in his limited tenure as a reliever. Things looked pretty bleak after Scherzer loaded the bases in relief in Game 4 of the 2013 ALDS against the Oakland Athletics. On that occasion, however, everything went Mad Max’s way in a moment of extreme baseball peril. If a reliever has nine lives, Scherzer probably used them all up on the Tigers’ behalf.
After the night Scherzer had against the Cubs, it helps to remember better times. Have a good offseason big fella.