Rockies avoid Scherzer in series finale vs. Nationals
DENVER — A one-sided loss Saturday night left the Colorado Rockies tied for first place with the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West, which may or may not be decided Sunday when the regular season is scheduled to end.
Both the Rockies and Dodgers are 90-71. The Washington Nationals buried the Rockies 12-2 Saturday, ending their season-high eight-game winning streak. After the game, Nationals manager Dave Martinez announced that ace Max Scherzer will not start Sunday and instead right-hander Erick Fedde will face Colorado.
Fedde (2-3, 5.24 ERA) will be opposed by left-hander Tyler Anderson (6-9, 4.76).
The Dodgers’ 10-6 win Saturday over the San Francisco Giants assured them of making the playoffs and factored heavily in the Nationals’ decision not to start Scherzer on regular rest Sunday.
He piled up 10 strikeouts, to boost his total for the season to 300, on Tuesday against Miami, working seven innings to increase his major-league leading total for the season to 220 1/3.
Martinez said the decision to start Fedde came after Martinez, general manager Mike Rizzo and Scherzer spoke Saturday.
“We talked to him before the game and we just decided it’d be best if he doesn’t pitch,” Martinez said.
Asked whether Scherzer lobbied to start Sunday or abided by the decision, Martinez said, “He was OK (with the decision). That last game he pitched, he got his 300th strikeout, and he left it all out there.
“We asked him (on Friday if he would pitch Sunday) if it meant a team being knocked out or being eliminated, he said, ‘Yes, absolutely.’ Then today, with both teams being in the playoffs, we sat down and told him it was enough.
“I understand the integrity of the game, but both teams are in it, so I got to take care of my player.”
The Rockies contemplated starting German Marquez on three days’ rest, something he has never done in previous 64 starts in the big leagues. But by holding Marquez back, he can start Monday at Los Angeles, if necessary, on regular rest.
Anderson is coming off two strong starts, the last Sept. 19 at Los Angeles when he held the Dodgers to three hits and two runs in six innings of a no-decision as the Rockies lost 5-2.
Shoulder soreness then caused Anderson to be scratched from a scheduled start on Sept. 25. Anderson is 0-0 with a 4.35 ERA in two starts against the Nationals, including an outing this season on April 15 at Washington where he allowed two hits, three runs (one earned) and six walks in 4 2/3 innings with six strikeouts in a no-decision in Colorado’s 6-5 win.
In four September starts, three of which the Nationals lost, Fedde has pitched 18 1/3 inings and is 1-0 with a 4.42 ERA. He last pitched Sept. 23 and came away with a no-decision in Washington’s 8-6 loss to the New York Mets after giving up five hits, four walks and three runs in 3 1/3 innings with two strikeouts.
Fedde made his major league debut against Colorado on July 30, 2017, at Washington and gave up 10 hits and seven runs in four innings and lost 10-6.
That was Fedde’s only career appearance against the Rockies, leaving him 0-1 with a 15.75 ERA against them as he awaits his 14th career start and Coors Field debut.
Not surprisingly, the Rockies were glad to hear three-time Cy Young Award winner Scherzer (18-7, 2.53 ERA) won’t be starting Sunday.
“It’s great when you don’t have to face a four-time Cy Young (winner),” said Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado, giving Scherzer credit for an additional Cy Young Award. “We were all ready to face him. He’s one of the best to ever do it, with (Los Angeles’ Clayton) Kershaw the best of our generation, really. The guy we’re facing, there’s not a lot of familiarity. I think his first big league start was (against) us in Washington.”