Nationals say Max Scherzer will start opener, faces Mets ace Jacob deGrom

By Chuck King – Associated Press – Monday, March 11, 2019

JUPITER, Fla. — Nonchalantly, Washington manager Dave Martinez made official on Monday what most already assumed — ace will be the first to get the ball for the Nationals.

“I’m going to go out on a limb today and tell you that will be our opening day starter. How’s that?” Martinez said.

That sets up a marquee matchup March 28 at Nationals Park: vs. Jacob deGrom of the New York Mets.

Between them, and deGrom own four Cy Young awards, including the three most recent in the National League. Last year, the duo finished 1-2 in the voting, with deGrom claiming his first trophy.

Martinez made the announcement after surrendered three runs on six hits and a walk while striking out two in 6 1/3 innings against St. Louis. advanced his pitch total to 75, facing 23 batters.

The Nationals eschewed the designated hitter on Monday, allowing the 34-year-old to bat for the second time this spring. This time, it nearly cost the Nationals dearly.

In the fifth inning, Jack Flaherty’s 3-2 inside fastball hit the nob of ’s bat and breezed along the fingers of his right hand. One pitch earlier, glared at Flaherty following a high-and-tight fastball.

“I can understand that,” St. Louis manager Mike Shildt said.

ultimately struck out, part of an 0-for-2 afternoon, ending the inning.

He emerged to pitch the bottom of the fifth and started the sixth before being removed after reaching his desired pitch count.

posted an 18-7 record and a 2.53 ERA last season, striking out 300 in 220 2/3 innings. DeGrom’s 1.70 ERA made him the runaway choice for the Cy Young.

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