Nats’ bats, Scherzer dominant in 15-run loss for Diamondbacks
PHOENIX – The Arizona Diamondbacks were shellacked by former D-back Max Scherzer and the Washington Nationals in a 17-2 loss at home on Friday night.
The Nationals’ 22 hits are the most allowed by the D-backs since 2005 and the 15-run loss is the most one-sided home loss since 2002.
Pavin Smith hit his ninth double of the year and scored a run, while David Peralta was 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored of his own. He also made his first relief pitching appearance of the year, in case you wanted to know how bad things got in this one.
Scherzer made his first start for the Nationals at Chase Field since May 11, 2018, but he looked right at home on the mound in downtown Phoenix.
The three-time Cy Young award winner mowed down D-backs batters with relative ease, chalking up seven strikeouts in five innings.
With a significant lead, he was able to exit early. Scherzer allowed just two hits, one walk and no runs, and he would get all of the run support he needed in the first inning from his team as they teed off against D-backs pitcher Riley Smith in his fifth start of the year.
“The day didn’t start that great,” said manager Torey Lovullo. “We got clipped for six runs in the top of the first inning, and it just seemed to lead us down a dark road.”
Smith struggled right out of the gate in the first. He gave up a leadoff home run to Trea Turner with the second pitch of the game, walked Juan Soto and Starlin Castro and allowed Kyle Schwarber to reach on a single in the first.
With the bases loaded, Josh Bell brought in a pair of runs with a two-RBI double, which was followed by another two-RBI double off the bat of Yan Gomes.
Gomes achieved a career high with five hits in this game, falling just a home run short of the cycle. He alone nearly outhit the entire D-backs lineup.
Victor Robles added a third double that scored Gomes, and like that, the D-backs found themselves down 6-0 before they took the field.
After settling in but still not fooling many batters, Smith lasted just three innings. He gave up eight earned runs on eight hits with two walks and no strikeouts.
“Riley just made some mistakes up out over the middle of the zone, and good hitters made him pay for it,” added Lovullo.
“It’s about continuing to talk to him and teach him and keep moving this thing forward.”
Caleb Smith ate up some innings in relief, putting in his own three innings at the office. He allowed three earned runs on five hits with a pair of punchouts and two walks.
The bullpen gave up a total of nine additional runs, which included Peralta making his surprise MLB debut on the mound in the ninth.
“I was really nervous,” admitted Peralta. “I just want to hear my name, ‘Now pitching, David Peralta.’ And I made it. I made my MLB debut as a pitcher. So, I’m happy, it’s one thing that I’m going to scratch off my list.”
Peralta had to promise Lovullo he would not throw high velocity or his breaking pitches.
“That’s why I couldn’t strike out guys, man,” he said, confessing that he thought about needing a strikeout pitch. “But I couldn’t do it, bud. It’s OK, I got one strikeout so it’s good. That’s all I needed.”
His wild inning of work included four hits, one for a home run, one hit batter, three earned runs and the one surprising strikeout that lightened the mood of the lopsided loss.
“I think when you can bring a little humor to a tough day and finish it that way, I think it gets you a little primed and ready for the next day,” said Lovullo, who disclosed that Peralta has been after him for five years for this opportunity.
“I think between all that happened, we just need to turn the page, man. It was a bad night for everyone, that was a tough game, and tomorrow’s going to be a new day,” added Peralta.
Luckily, there is no aggregate scoring in major league baseball, so the D-backs can flush this one and move on to the next.
Seth Frankoff will make his regular season debut for the D-backs in game two against the Nationals. In three major league appearances, Frankoff has a 13.50 ERA in 4.2 innings of relief work. First pitch is scheduled for 5:10 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning 40 minutes earlier on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.