Nationals’ Max Scherzer exits Friday’s start vs. Giants with trainer after 12 pitches


The Washington Nationals came into Friday in the NL East cellar at 25-33, and they’re already without starters Stephen Strasburg (neck) and Erick Fedde (COVID). Now another starter has gone down with an apparent injury.

Friday night against the Giants (GameTracker), ace Max Scherzer exited his start with the trainer after only 12 pitches. He appeared to be favoring his lower half. Scherzer threw one warm-up pitch to see whether he could continue before leaving the game. The team has not yet announced an update.

For what it’s worth, Scherzer threw four fastballs before exiting, and his velocity was strong: 94.0 mph, 93.6 mph, 94.4 mph, and 95.5 mph. His season average fastball velocity is 94.1 mph, so there are no red flags there.

Scherzer, 36, is having another Cy Young caliber season. He took a 2.22 ERA with 104 strikeouts in 12 starts and 77 innings into Friday’s game, and is pitching as well as he has at any point in his career.

With the Nationals in last place and Scherzer in the final year of his contract, it’s only natural to wonder whether he could be traded at the deadline. A long-term (or even medium-term) injury would throw a wrench into things.

Righty Paolo Espino replaced Scherzer. The Nationals and Giants have a doubleheader Saturday, so Washington’s bullpen is going to be very busy the next 24 hours or so.

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