Scherzer talked after the outing, an eight-inning start in which he allowed four hits and three earned runs, striking out 11, about getting to know the 23-year-old rookie and getting comfortable with Severino behind the plate.
“It was great,” Scherzer told reporters. “He did a great job behind the plate of getting me in rhythm and trying to get on the page with me and get some sequences right.
“When you have a young catcher really working with you and doing everything he can, he did a great job of ... for me, really, getting those low pitches for me. He has a great low target and just made it very easy to throw the ball down in the zone today.”
That was the third start of the season for Severino, who signed with the Nationals out of the Dominican Republic in 2010 and debuted in the majors in 2015. He was up then because Jose Lobaton was on the disabled list.
He went to the minors for a month and returned in mid-September. With the injury to Wilson Ramos this week, Severino’s suddenly been thrust into a much different role than he was expected to play.
“There’s always a level of concern when you lose a guy of that caliber,” Dusty Baker told reporters before they learned the extent of the damage to Ramos’s knee, “but that’s why we have the depth that we have, and nobody is going to feel sorry for you. And so we’ve just got to ... next man up ... we’ve got some guys that have to pick it up some.”
Lobaton started the first two games after Ramos went down, catching Scherzer in the second game, but Severino came off the bench late, scoring a run in the 4-2 win and catching the last few innings.
Baker noted that Severino “has good speed, for a catcher, and good instincts on the bases.”
“(Severino) came in and did his thing right on time and he called his usual good game,” the manager added.
“(Lobaton) was helping him on the sidelines with game-calling and (Severino) pays attention, or he could see what they were doing to (Scherzer), and that’s what he’s going to have to do to contribute.”
Severino started the series finale on Thursday afternoon and went 1-for-3 with a solo home run (his second this season) and a walk in the Nationals’ 5-3 win.
He talked to MASN’s Johnny Holliday and Ray Knight after the game about being thrust into a bigger role and getting an opportunity.
“I don’t feel happy because everything happened with Ramos the other day,” Severino said. “But we have to keep working hard and help the team (and do) everything we can because Ramos did a great job all year and got the team in first place like we are right now, so I just hope me and (Lobaton) can keep working hard.”
“That’s real big,” Baker said of Severino’s blast off D-backs lefty Robbie Ray.
“All of our young guys don’t appear to be intimidated at all by being young, but they’re about to venture into territories that they haven’t been before and I told him, I said, ‘Hey, man, I want you to do the same thing against Kershaw if you’re starting in L.A.,’ and he said, ‘Okay,’ and we just left it at that. He’s worked on some things. (Hitting coach) Rick Schu has worked on some things and then Bobby Henley takes him out every other day, works on his throwing, works on his blocking and stuff when he wasn’t playing, so it doesn’t appear to be too foreign to him.”
Severino said he just hoped he could prove to Baker that he’s capable of helping out in any way he’s asked to.
“Every time when he gives me the chance to play I just show him that I can play in the playoffs,” he said. “I’m just trying to get comfortable with all the pitchers and my team. I’m just trying to help everybody get comfortable with myself like I can play behind the plate, so that’s what I’m doing right now.”
Baker was asked if he planned on a platoon behind the plate. “Maybe,” he said. He did not elaborate.
Patrick Reddington blogs about the Nationals for Federal Baseball and appears here as part of MASNsports.com’s season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our pages. Follow him on Twitter: @federalbaseball. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.