|Nationals' Scherzer faces Marlins challenging for Cy Young|
WASHINGTON -- With their fate as a team sealed, there are still a number of individual goals in play for the Washington Nationals, who meet the Miami Marlins in Game 2 of their series Tuesday night at Nationals Park.
Nationals' right-hander Max Scherzer (17-7, 2.57 ERA), for example, opposes right-hander Jeff Brigham (0-3, 5.84) with Scherzer gunning for his third consecutive National League Cy Young award.
Scherzer leads the National League in strikeouts (290) and in batting average against (.188) and is tied for the lead in wins. He's third in ERA (2.57) behind front-runner Jacob deGrom (1.77) and Aaron Nola (2.45).
In his last five starts Scherzer has struggled a bit -- for him -- giving up three earned runs four times and six the other as his ERA has climbed from 2.13. Last time out he allowed three runs on five hits over seven innings in a no-decision against the Mets. He struck out 13, moving him closer to becoming the third pitcher in the past 16 seasons to reach 300, joining Chris Sale in 2017 and Clayton Kershaw in 2015.
"You're aware of it, but that's not why you go out there and pitch," Scherzer told mlb.com. "You go out there and pitch to win. I wanted to come in today and win a ballgame, and unfortunately, we lost. You're always thinking about all those things you weren't able to do to help your team win."
Outfielder Juan Soto has five more games to impress voters for the NL Rookie of the Year award, which appears to be a two-man race with Atlanta's Ronald Acuna, Jr.
Soto leads NL rookies with 66 RBIs and 74 walks and is near the top in batting average, home runs and on-base percentage.
Outfielder Bryce Harper achieved a personal milestone in Monday's 7-3 win when he drove in his 100th run of the season, the first time in his career he's done so.
"For me it's just going out there and trying to score runs and doing the things I can. If I can get 100 runs, 100 walks and 100 RBIs it's pretty cool," said Harper, who has 126 walks and 99 runs scored. "I'll take that any day of the week."
Harper's previous high was 99 RBIs in 2015, the year he won the NL Most Valuable Player Award.
Since their elimination from post-season contention Saturday, Nationals manager Dave Martinez has continued to use his regulars.
"I'd like to win the rest of these games," he said. "I really would, and I think the players want to do the same."
The Marlins stranded 10 baserunners Monday night, including five in the first two innings against Stephen Strasburg, who left after four innings.
"Yeah we had a lot of chances," manager Don Mattingly said. He threw close to forty (pitches) in the first and (we) had guys out there. Even after they score we still got guys out there, have a chance to get right back in it there and are not able to do anything."
Sandy Alcantara (2-2) gave up six runs on seven hits and five walks in four innings.
"When he's not aggressive that's what you kind of get," Mattingly said. "He's walking all the lefties. He walked six last game all lefties, five today all lefties. Not sure what the issue is but obviously we can work on that."
Brigham (0-3, 5.84) makes his fourth major league start Tuesday and first against the Nationals. Last time out he allowed two runs on three hits with four walks and six strikeouts over five innings of a loss to the Reds.