Turn the fork in the Nats, who are done

washington nationals natsMax Scherzer has given up one run on seven hits in 14 innings in his last two starts, striking out 17 and walking two. The Nats’ record over those two games: 0-2.

Yeah, they’re done, and poor Max.

He gave up a run on four hits Tuesday against Atlanta, but Kelvin Herrera gave up two runs in the ninth in a 3-1 loss.

Then Sunday night, Max was masterful, striking out 11, walking one and giving up three hits in seven scoreless innings.

Washington led 3-0 in the ninth, but closer-du-jour Ryan Madsen hit two batters after defensive replacement Wilmer Difo booted a grounder, before pinch-hitter David Bote hit a walk-off grand slam.

The end has to be near for, among others, GM Mike Rizzo, whose brilliant trade deadline moves included casting off setup man Brandon Kintzler, a supposed clubhouse snitch who had earlier been credited with fixing a mechanical flaw in starter Tanner Roark, who has now won his last four starts after a 3-12 start, then DFA’ing Shawn Kelley after the reliever threw a tantrum in a 25-4 Nats’ win.

With Herrera and All-Star closer Sean Doolittle on the DL, there’s basically nobody back there to close games out right now, as Max Scherzer could no doubt attest.

Thanks, Rizzo.

Good-bye wishes are also soon to be in order for rookie manager Dave Martinez, who is still somehow learning on the job three-quarters of the way into the season.

It won’t quite be a rebuild in 2019, with the likes of Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Trea Turner, Anthony Rendon, Adam Eaton and Juan Soto forming a talented nucleus, but the Bryce Harper question will linger into the Hot Stove season.

Column by Chris Graham

augusta free press

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