WASHINGTON — The Nationals’ early swing of day games nearly caused Max Scherzer to oversleep Friday’s game.
First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. between the Nats and Phillies, but by the time Washington’s ace was ready for bed Thursday night, he had a 7 p.m. start, the customary start time for Friday games at Nats Park, in mind.
“Actually, today I literally almost overslept this game,” Scherzer said. “Literally, last night, I thought it was a 7 o’clock game and I literally was almost in bed ready to go thinking it was a 7 o’clock game. And then finally, last-minute saw it was a 4 o’clock game. Because Friday games are always at 7.”
Between Wednesday’s late afternoon game — a 6-1 loss to St. Louis which started at 4:05 p.m. — and their upcoming home series against Philadelphia — with start times of 4:05, 4:05 and 1:05 p.m. — the Nats will have played four consecutive days games by the end of the weekend.
“Yeah, it’s a bit of a loop,” Scherzer said of the scheduling. “But it’s actually good if all the day games are happening, they’re happening now close to spring training. In spring training mode, we’re up early in the morning and we’re used to day games. If anything, we’re not used to night games.”
“Until we go onto this west coast trip, where we get a real streak of a bunch of 7 o’clock games in a row, that’s when your body finally adjusts to baseball time,” he said. “And that’s when you’re staying up until about 1 a.m. every night no matter what you do, and then the day games throw you off. But we haven’t quite reached that streak yet of playing that many night games in a row, so all of our bodies are used to it right now.”
Asked what would have happened had he not realized the actual game time, Scherzer said, “Well, I don’t know. I guess I would have been getting to the park around two thinking I’m early, and then it would have been in the middle of BP. ‘Oh, hey guys. Yeah, 4 o’clock game. Yeah. I got some work to do. I’ll be in the weight room. Don’t worry if I’m late.‘”
The odd early-season scheduling does allow for the Nats to take in the local scene. After Saturday’s 1:05 p.m. game, a group of players plan to attend Game 2 of the Capitals’ playoff series against Toronto at Verizon Center. The puck is scheduled to drop on that game at 7 p.m.
“I think tomorrow night we’re gonna go to Game 2 of the Caps game,” Scherzer said. “We’re definitely into it, definitely following the team and we’re excited for all the sports, especially with the Wizards playing the Hawks and obviously the Caps.”
“I think there’s gonna be a bunch of us going, so we’ll try to get a suite so we can all hang out together,” he added. “Because all the guys will try to bring their kids and you don’t want rugrats running around in the stands. Makes it a little bit easier on everybody to be able to get them to the game, so it should be fun.”
Scherzer was also asked to confirm if teammate Daniel Murphy, who has begun his sophomore season in Washington hitting .450 with five doubles and 9 RBI, is in fact a human being.
“I don’t know. I think he’s like downloaded this program called ‘Hitting,’ and like he’s just figured out how to get his exit angles and exit speeds, everything that you need, he just figured out the cheat codes of the game, and just figured out, ‘I’m just gonna pull the ball in the air or do this with this pitch.’ He just has like an app.”