When his name wasn’t included in the first list of National League All-Stars announced, Nationals ace Max Scherzer didn’t fret. He’s been around Major League Baseball long enough to know that other pitchers would have to be replaced because of injury or because they pitched Sunday. Scherzer was patient and awaited the call informing him of his eighth selection to the Midsummer Classic.
That announcement came yesterday, and today, Scherzer was named by NL manager Dave Roberts of the Dodgers as the NL’s starter for Tuesday night’s game at Coors Field in Denver.
It will be the eighth All-Star Game and fourth start for Scherzer, who is 7-4 with a 2.66 ERA and 0.878 WHIP in 17 starts this season. He’s started twice for the NL and once for the American League, becoming the fifth pitcher in history to start an All-Star Game for both leagues. Scherzer is one of six pitchers in history to start four All-Star Games.
“It’s a cool feeling to be named to my eighth All-Star Game and now my fourth time to start it. It’s an incredible honor,” Scherzer said in a media day press conference broadcast live on MLB Network. “When you step into a room full of All-Stars and get the ball, that’s a special feeling. It’s really hard to put into words, so for Dave to select me again, to get that honor to me, with the quality of arms that are in the National League this year, I’m very blessed and very thankful for that opportunity.”
Scherzer will be opposed by Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani.
Roberts said the fact that the Nationals were deprived of having manager Davey Martinez manage the All-Star team last year because of the COVID-shortened season factored into his decision to give Scherzer the nod as the starter. But Scherzer’s selection was based mainly on performance.
“For me, it was a no-brainer,” Roberts said.
Scherzer’s addition to the NL All-Star roster gave the Nats four players who are traveling to Denver. He’ll be joined by shortstop Trea Turner, right fielder Juan Soto and left fielder Kyle Schwarber for the festivities. Of the three, only Schwarber won’t be available to play, as he’s on the injured list nursing a hamstring strain.
Upon the news that he’d be heading to Denver, Scherzer expressed the glee of a first-time honoree, not a grizzled veteran in the twilight of an impressive career.
“That’s why I take pride in this - because it’s hard to be in this position, it’s hard to be at the All-Star level,” he said during a Zoom interview Saturday afternoon. “To be able to be recognized, it takes other people to vote you in - and I get it - and to have that type of recognition, to be able to do that year in and year out, I take a lot of pride in the fact that I’ve been consistent and I’ve been durable.”
Nationals manager Davey Martinez suggested over the weekend that Scherzer would be available to pitch one or two innings for the NL. Traditionally, that’s about as much as an All-Star starter will go - both to preserve the pitcher’s arm in what is essentially an exhibition game and to create more opportunities for more pitchers.