Max Scherzer will take the Miller Park mound Friday for the first time since he flirted with perfection.
Scherzer's start opposite Milwaukee's Zach Davies in the opener of a three-game Nationals-Brewers series comes barely more than a year after the first of Scherzer's back-to-back perfect-game bids against the Brewers and Pirates last June. In Milwaukee on June 14, he retired the first 18 batters he faced before then-Brewer Carlos Gomez dumped a broken-bat single beyond second baseman Anthony Rendon's outstretched glove in the seventh inning. Scooter Gennett's eighth-inning walk produced the Brewers' only other baserunner in Scherzer's complete-game shutout victory.
"In this game, you try to forget the rough ones," Gennett said this week, though he remembered that game well. "He was pretty dominant."
Scherzer was so dominant that day, logging 16 strikeouts, that Gomez was actually sheepish about the way he broke up the right-hander's bid for perfection. In 60 seasons of Major League Baseball in Milwaukee, no one has ever thrown a perfect game there.
"I got lucky," said Gomez that day, adding, "I mean, I don't enjoy it. I would enjoy it if I hit a real base hit."
Six days later, Scherzer was nearly perfect again, losing that bid in agonizing fashion when he nicked the Pirates' Jose Tabata on the elbow with a two-strike pitch with two outs in the ninth. That time, Scherzer completed the no-hitter.
Three things to know about this game • The Brewers are catching Scherzer amid another hot streak. He is 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA this month while holding opponents to a .162 batting average.
• Davies is a formidable opponent. Since losing his first three starts with an 8.78 ERA, he is 5-0 with a 2.40 ERA in his last nine ganes, with six quality starts including four in a row entering Friday.