The Washington Nationals open an 11-game homestand when they host the San Francisco Giants on Thursday night.
Both teams are coming off 11-innings efforts on Wednesday, though with different results. The Giants dropped a 4-3 decision to the Texas Rangers in Arlington, Texas, while the Nationals ended their nine-game road trip with a 9-7 win over the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla.
The Giants will send right-hander Anthony DeSclafani (5-2, 3.51 ERA) against right-hander Max Scherzer (5-4, 2.22) in the opener.
Scherzer has allowed two earned runs or fewer in 10 of his 12 starts, including his past seven. In his latest outing, Scherzer went 7 2/3 innings in a win against the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday. He allowed a run on five hits and a walk while striking out nine on 108 pitches.
“I really just wanted him to try to get an out,” manager Dave Martinez said of letting Scherzer start the eighth. “He got the first out, we let him get the second out, and at that point, I wanted to bring (closer Daniel Hudson) in.
“Once again, he had a great outing, mixed in all his pitches, threw some really good changeups when he needed to, but all of his pitches were electric.”
Scherzer is 4-5 with a 3.86 ERA and one complete game in 10 career starts versus the Giants. Brandon Crawford is 6-for-15 (.400) with two homers and five RBIs against Scherzer, while Brandon Belt is 3-for-12 (.250) and Buster Posey is 1-for-12 (.083).
Since being torched for 10 runs in 2 2/3 innings by the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 23, DeSclafani has bounced back, allowing just two runs in each of his past two starts.
On June 3, he gave up four hits over six innings in a win against the Chicago Cubs. He also snapped an 0-for-40 skid at the plate with an RBI double that tied the game.
“I’m glad I finally got a hit,” DeSclafani said. “More importantly, I’m glad it was a timely hit to tie up the game. I feel like I’ve been having some decent at-bats. I’m trying to act like I know what I’m doing in the box and all that stuff.”
DeSclafani is 2-1 with a 3.55 ERA in eight games — five starts — against the Nationals. Josh Bell is 9-for-23 (.391) with two homers and five RBIs versus the former Cincinnati Reds hurler, Starlin Castro is 6-for-19 (.316), Kyle Schwarber is 5-for-17 (.294) and Josh Harrison is 1-for-14 (.071).
The Giants took 2-1 lead into the bottom of the ninth Wednesday and seemed poised for a two-game sweep against the Rangers, but Texas tied the game off Tyler Rogers in the ninth, did it again off him in the 10th and then prevailed in the 11th.
The Giants were walked off for the seventh time this season.
“There are going to be days … where balls find holes, they go past diving infielders, sometimes they bloop over infielders’ heads,” San Francisco manager Gabe Kapler said.
“I would take the way Tyler Rogers pitches in big moments over and over because more times than not, that weak contact is going to be converted into outs.”
Jason Vosler and Chadwick Tromp had back-to-back home runs for the Giants, who have won eight of 11. Sammy Long, San Francisco’s second pitcher of the day, struck out seven of the 14 batters he faced in his major league debut.
Ryan Zimmerman homered twice and Starlin Castro’s leadoff double in the 11th inning drove in the eventual winning run Wednesday for Washington, which had lost three straight and nine of 12.
Zimmerman, 36, is hitting .295 and has eight home runs in 105 at-bats after sitting out 2020.
“I didn’t know what kind of numbers I’d put up (in a reduced role),” he said. “Obviously there’s still a long way to go, so I still have work to do. But I’ve been happy with the way I’ve started, and hopefully I can continue it. But you don’t get any awards for having a good first two months.”
–Field Level Media