Max Scherzer is arguably one of the five best pitchers in all of baseball. On Wednesday afternoon, however, he looked like nothing more than another Steve Trachsel.

The Atlanta Braves got to the Washington Nationals ace early and often, battering him to the tune of three runs in the first inning alone. That wasn't the last of the damage Scherzer incurred, though. The poor start revealed a side of the ace that the public doesn't usually get to see: his human nature.

Scherzer struggles

It took less than one inning for Atlanta to get to Scherzer. The fault doesn't entirely lay with him, though.

With two outs in the first inning, he surrendered a double to first baseman Freddie Freeman. The inning should've ended on the following play, when second baseman Wilmer Difo booted the ball on a routine grounder. That set up Preston Tucker to change the momentum of the game.

It was the second straight day Tucker hit a three-run blast in the first inning, a first in Braves history.

After that, Scherzer settled down a little bit. He even batted in a run in the second inning to cut the deficit to two runs.

But in the fourth inning, he gave up a double to opposing pitcher Mike Foltynewicz, of all people. The extra base hit made it a 5-1 game in favor of Atlanta.

The Nationals ended Scherzer's day after five innings. He gave up five runs -- although just two earned -- in addition to six hits and two walks. Yet he somehow managed to strike out seven batters, suggesting he could've kept the Braves in better check were it not for a few critical mistakes.

No need for Nationals to panic

Yes, this was an unexpectedly bad outing for Scherzer, who is in line to receive the loss as the game enters the ninth inning. It certainly felt like a step back after he pitched six shutout innings on Opening Day, holding the Cincinnati Reds to just five hits and one walk, while striking out ten.

As a five-time All-Star and three-time Cy Young Award winner (including the past two seasons), Scherzer deserves the benefit of the doubt. The last time he gave up five runs in a single outing was on September 13, when the very same Braves managed to scratch across seven runs. He didn't give up more than two runs after that for the next four starts, leading the Nationals into the postseason.

It's too soon to be prognosticating doom and gloom for the 33-year-old Scherzer. He'll be back to his old self by the time his next start rolls around, which should come next Tuesday against...Atlanta.