Chris Speier is substituting for Dusty Baker as acting manager for this series against the Padres. Baker is back in California to attend his son Darren's graduation from high school and will rejoin the team Monday in San Francisco.
Speier's job when Baker is here is as bench coach. The Nationals have added co-field coordinator Jeff Garber to assist on the bench for this weekend. Speier said during pregame that his bench coach responsibilities will not change and he will not delegate those tasks.
"Not much different. I'm still maintaining all the other things that I do prior to a game, during a game," Speier said. "I'll do the infield defense. Take care of the lineup cards, all that stuff. So nothing different other than pressure of managing and making the right decisions. Nah, it should be fine."
Speier said that, from a strategy standpoint, he will not manage the Nationals any differently than Baker would.
"I think we're pretty much the same," Speier said. "I would say I do a few different things when the opportunities present themselves. It's more of a feel, I think. When you've been in the game for a while, you have a feel. But you are limited to what your players can do for you. You have to take all those things into consideration."
Update: Max Scherzer notched a strikeout and induced a 6-4-3 double play to get out of the first.
Former Padres top draft selection Trea Turner crushed a solo homer over the center field wall to give the Nationals a 1-0 lead.
After one frame, the Nationals lead the Padres 1-0.
Scherzer allowed a single by Austin Hedges with two outs in the second inning, but nothing else.
Mid-second at Nats Park, the Nationals lead the Padres 1-0.
Update II: The Padres' Ryan "Detlef" Schimpf smacked a solo homer to even the game at 1-1 in the fourth. Scherzer has allowed 10 homers in his last seven starts. But Scherzer has six strikeouts through four innings in this one.
The game remained tied for a short time. In the bottom of the fourth, Matt Wieters singled. Michael A. Taylor followed with a two-run shot, his third homer of the season, and the Nats regained the lead.
After four in D.C., the Nationals lead the Padres 3-1.
Update III: Scherzer has allowed only two hits, including a solo homer, and has struck out nine in seven innings of work. In the mid-seventh, the Nationals lead the Padres 3-1. Kirby Yates has come on to pitch the bottom of the seventh for San Diego.
Update IV: In the seventh, Bryce Harper two-run shot off of San Diego reliever Kirby Yates reached the third deck in right field. His 15th homer is the eighth this season in a two strike count. The Nationals lead the Padres 5-1.
Update V: With one out in the ninth, Scherzer (5-3) allowed a single and a walk, but after Speier walked out to talk to his pitcher, the acting manager decided to leave him in. The move paid off. Scherzer struck out Wil Myers for the second out. Schimpf was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
With the bases loaded, Koda Glover struck out pinch-hitter Hunter Renfroe to end the game and pick up his fourth save.
Scherzer ended up going 8 2/3 innings, allowing one run on three hits with two walks and a season-high 13 strikeouts, with one homer and one hit by pitch.
If Scherzer had recorded one more out, it would have been his first complete game since May 11, 2016, in a 3-2 win over Detroit.
The 10-plus strikeouts mark the 53rd time in his career Scherzer pitched a game in which he had fanned batters in double digits.
Final score: the Nationals 5, the Padres 1.