Watch Me Pitch….Watch Me KK

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Baseball – my favorite pastime and one I finally got to share with my sister this past week! I bought tickets for this game way back in March; for one reason and one reason only, it was Bryce Harper MVP Bobble-head night. I didn’t know who was going to go with me but I knew someone would and I was going to get my bobble-head. I was thrilled when Lindsey’s leave schedule worked out so that she could go with me!
As the game drew closer, it unfolded so as to be a pretty amazing match-up; Max Scherzer (Lindsey’s new favorite player) would be on the mound for the Nationals and facing off against him would be the Nationals former pitcher, Jordan Zimmermann…now with the Detroit Tigers. Jordan Zimmermann has started the 2016 with an unbelievable ERA; it’s been hovering around 1.00…yes, you read that right. Max has gotten off to a rocky start and would be facing off against his former team; the Nationals got Scherzer from the Tigers in 2015. Interesting match-up, right? Definitely! 
We have bobble-heads – score!
Jayson Werth…larger than life…
Dusty Baker – love this guy!

The constant rain in the DMV area managed to slack off before we joined the line of people waiting to get bobble-heads outside the Center Field Gate…and when I say line, I mean…who knew that bobble-heads brought out so many people?? Admittedly this is the first bobble-head game I’ve been to, but holy cow…all of the people were at Nationals Park at 4:30 in the afternoon! We had planned to eat at the BrewHouse but the wait time was an hour and fifteen minutes…and I’ve literally never had to wait before. We made a quick return trip to the Team Store for Lindsey to pick up a new pair of socks – her feet had gotten wet walking to Ice Cream Jubilee and back – and then we grabbed some supper at Shake Shack and took our seats!

What’s that on your socks there?
Oh…the Unanimous 2015 NL MVP? Nice!
The man the bobble-head was modeled after…

I would say we weren’t 100% prepared for the temperature at this game – I only had a light jacket and Lindsey had on shorts. Once the rain had moved through, the temperature hovered around 60 and there was a pretty nice breeze. Lindsey was pulling those socks up as close to her knees as she could to cover those exposed legs…it was crazy. VA weather y’all…it’s nuts. The usher for our section was super zealous…always saying “where are your tickets…where are your tickets???” every time you went anywhere – whoosh! Lindsey and I took in the warm-ups on the field, watched the video meant to get you pumped…which I love…and Lindsey feels ends rather anti-climatically. Oh well. Soon enough Ben Revere stepped in against Jordan Zimmermann and the game was underway!

Daniel Murphy was the first Nationals player on the field to warm up….
The view from Section 227 – Row D
Jordan Zimmermann back on the mound at Nationals Park – just not wearing the right colors…
Zimmermann on the throw…Harper ready to run…Murphy at the plate…

Max made quick work of the Tigers in the first inning and the Nationals struck early in the game; the first inning to be exact. After Revere flew out, Rendon doubled and then Harper singled, moving Rendon to third. Murphy continued his hitting streak by singling and sending Harper to second and Rendon on home…Nationals up 1-0! Zimmerman grounded into a double play to end the inning and the ballgame progressed accordingly…some walks on the part of the Nationals; Max Scherzer would not walk anyone this game…but more on that later…and of course, there were pop outs, fly outs and a strike here or there. Max Scherzer allowed a one run home run to Iglesias in the third and things were all tied up after the first three innings: Nationals 1 and Tigers 1.

Run Presidents Run!
Abe takes the win!
Ace Pitcher Extraordinaire – Max Scherzer!
Former Awesome Nationals Pitcher – Still Awesome Tigers Pitcher – Jordan Zimmermann!

Jordan Zimmermann came up to bat late in the third and received a standing ovation from the Nationals crowd; Jordan holds so many Nationals records…including the first no-hitter in Nationals history, it was touching to see Jordan step back from the plate, whip off his batting helmet and wave at the fans. It was also touching…in a wholly different fashion to watch Max strike him out. Ha! The game moved through the next few innings with more outs being recorded…obviously…but most importantly, by the time Max was through the top of the 6th inning, he had 13 strikeouts total from 20 batters faced; he was up to just 77 pitches and 62 of them had been strikes. In the bottom of the 6th, Rendon singled, Harper was walked and Daniel “Hits” Murphy did his thing as clean-up batter and singled, sending Rendon home to make the score 2-1 at the end of the sixth. When Max took the field at the top of the seventh…there was a collective buzz starting at Nationals Park…

Keeping track of the K’s in the stands…I need to be friends with these people.
Danny! Espinosa! Look out 
Mr. Max Scherzer…surpassing the Nationals record for strike-outs in a game…previously held by…Max Scherzer!

Scherzer collected K’s number fifteen and sixteen in the seventh inning and Danny Espinosa padded the Nationals lead in the bottom of the seventh with a solo shot homer that had everyone in the stands on their feet! Max was back in the eighth to get strikeouts sixteen…seventeen…and eighteen in the eighth; once he surpassed seventeen, he broke his own record for strikeouts in one game. He acheived seventeen last season with the Nationals…but I guess that wasn’t enough for Mad Max, because he blew right past seventeen, on to eighteen and then…well, then the eighth ended with the game at 3-1. It was at this point that people in the stands really began to buzz… Would Max come back in for the ninth? How many strikeouts could he get??

Mad Max takes the field for the ninth…and to make history!
Three outs later – the Nationals win!
The Nationals get the Curly W & Max gets 20 K’s!

Max took the field in the top of the ninth and on the first pitch of the inning allowed a one shot homer to make the score 3-2…but Nationals fans were unfazed. We knew we were watching history unfold and everyone was on their feet for the entirety of the ninth inning… Max got strikes nineteen and twenty, then got the third out on a grounder to end the game and secure the Nationals win; along the way joining only three other pitchers in the history of the MLB to get twenty strikeouts in a regular nine inning baseball game. To say the crowd went wild would be an understatement – with each strikeout, things got even crazier and when it was all said and done, I’d wager there wasn’t a person in those stands that wasn’t on their feet through that final inning – and rightly so – what an amazing moment!

Max receives congratulations from Tanner Roark and Stephen Strasburg…
A Curly W in historic fashion – yes!

I proceeded to take about ten pictures of Max talking on the jumbotron to Dan Kolko – so you’ll have to check those out below. It was pretty awesome to hear Max say that with the fans on their feet behind him, he had everything in the tank for the 9th – it was absolutely a memorable game and his interview after the game was a perfect cap to the win!

How do you feel Max? Ha-ha!
Feeling good about those 20 K’s…no doubt about it!
Max said he had everything in the tank with the fans behind him, cheering him on…
Always awesome Max – always!

I was completely thrilled that this was the game that Lindsey and I got to go to together – once it was over, we were chilly and starting to feel a little tired, but completely energized from watching such an amazing victory! After the game, Max Scherzer cemented his place as Lindsey’a favorite Nationals player and we made the journey home on a post game high!

As the Nationals radio announcer, Charlies Slowes is fond of saying “remember where you are, so you’ll remember where you were”… I was sitting in Section 227, Row D, Seat 1 with my best friend and little sister sitting beside me in Seat 2 when Max Scherzer made history at Nationals Park. Not bad…not bad at all.

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