Max Scherzer finished the first year of his 7-year/$210M contract with the Washington Nationals (14-12) with a 2.79 ERA, a 2.77 FIP, 34 walks (1.34 BB/9), 276 Ks (10.86 K/9) and two no-hitters.
Just as he did earlier this season, when he flirted with a no-hitter against the Milwaukee Brewers through six innings in the start before he no-hit the Pittsburgh Pirates in June, Scherzer teased a no-hit bid in his last start, taking it into the eighth before the Cincinnati Reds got a hit, then went out and got it right in the follow-up, striking out 17 of the 28 batters he faced in New York on the way to completing his second no-hitter of the year.
What's really ridiculous? Scherzer was a broken-bat blooper and a walk, a questionable, lean-in, two-out, two-strike HBP and an error away from three perfect games this season.
Two no-hitters are impressive enough though.
Scherzer became just the sixth pitcher in Major League Baseball history to throw two no-hitters in one season.
Asked for his thoughts on joining some pretty elite company tonight, Scherzer told MASN's Dan Kolko he didn't know what to say about that.
"You're speechless when you hear stuff like that," Scherzer said. "Just to be able to come out here and compete against the Mets, I mean, I know our season didn't go the way we wanted it to, but we finished strong.
"[Wilson Ramos] did a great job behind the plate. I trusted him so much. We did a great job executing. Our defense played. We had great, timely hitting when we need it and we just found a way to grind one out."
The Nationals beat the Mets, 2-0, for their second win of the day in Citi Field.
Nats' skipper Matt Williams, who's had the pleasure, in his two seasons on the bench in D.C., of seeing three no-hitters, said after tonight's game that he and everyone who saw it knew they were watching something special.
"Two short years I've gotten to see three of them, pretty special moments," Williams told reporters in New York.
"They don't come around very often, so like I said, we're all very privileged to have witnessed it tonight."
"You don't see it very often, let alone twice," Williams continued.
"He's in select company. So we're proud of him. He works very hard and what a way to finish his season."
Scherzer described how it feels to be that locked in on the mound and in complete control of all of your pitches.
"You're in sync with your mechanics and you're in sync with the catcher and you're in sync with what you want to do," he said.
"You just have a feeling what you know the out-pitch is. You're reading the swings, you're reading what they're doing and you just try to execute pitches around that.
"[Ramos] did a great job of calling some pitches that I wasn't anticipating. I executed anyway and it just worked."
Ramos has been behind the plate for all three of the Nats' no-hitters, both of Scherzer's and Jordan Zimmermann's in Game 162 of 162 last season.
"[He] works well with our guys," Williams said. "They got in a groove tonight. Max didn't shake off much. They were working quickly, in command, it's a testament to Wilson as well."
After he completed eight scoreless and hitless on 93 pitches, striking out seven straight batters between the bottom of the sixth and eighth innings, Scherzer took a long walk around the mound before getting started on the ninth.
He said he spent a moment psyching himself up for the last three outs.
"'Here we go. Let's go. It's on,'" Scherzer said, recreating his inner dialogue for MASN's Dan Kolko.
"I'm pumping myself up. I know what's at stake and I want it. It's just one of those things where that's where I get in my mode and coming at you with all I got."
Scherzer struck the first two batters he faced out, giving him nine straight strikeouts and 17 total on the night, then popped Curtis Granderson up to complete the no-no on an impressive, efficient 104 pitches.
"I was able to get some early contact," Scherzer said when asked about the low pitch count.
"Just pounding the zone and working ahead, just getting to 0-2 counts and when I got to those 0-2 counts I was able to get fastballs by them, execute the pitches I wanted to and collect those strikeouts on three pitches or four pitches and that's how you keep your pitch count down and how you pitch effectively."
It was a wonder to behold.
"We're all pretty privileged to witness it," Williams said.