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Washington Nationals' 2015 Season in Review: Max Scherzer's second no-hitter

Max Scherzer no-hit the Pittsburgh Pirates in June in Nationals Park, then held the New York Mets hitless in October in Citi Field, becoming just the fifth major league pitcher to toss two no-hitters in one season. Washington's $210M starter knows there's room for improvement in 2016.

Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Max Scherzer was one strike away from a perfect game when he hit Pittsburgh Pirates' outfielder Jose Tabata on the left elbow with a slider in what ended up being his first career no-hitter in June.

How was he able to move on from the way his bid for perfection ended and get the next batter?

"Pretty easy to do," Scherzer told reporters after that game. "Probably took two seconds. I realized I lost the perfect game, just move on, finish this thing out."

Scherzer was perfect through five in his final outing of the year against the New York Mets in Citi Field, when an error by Yunel Escobar on a grounder to third ended his third bid for perfection last season.

"When you go through the lineup two times through then you know you've got a real shot. That's kind of my kind of threshold of when you know that you have something going." -Max Scherzer after his no-hitter vs the Mets

After what ended up being his second no-hitter of the season, the Washington Nationals' right-hander was asked how he reacted to the E:5 which resulted in the only runner to reach base?

"Who's the next hitter?" Scherzer said.

He set that next hitter down and the next and struck out nine straight (a franchise record) after that, before he popped Mets' right fielder Curtis Granderson up to end his second no-hitter of the season.

Having been there before, in June, and then again in his next-to-last start didn't necessarily prepare him for the stress of another no-hit bid since, as Scherzer explained, there's so much luck involved.

But when did he start to think about the possibility of doing it again?

"It's tough to say when it was possible," Scherzer said.

"When you go through the order one time through you know you've got something going. When you go through the lineup two times through then you know you've got a real shot.

"That's kind of my kind of threshold of when you know that you have something going.

"After you get through six, you know you have a shot and [know] that if you can get through seven then you can really empty the tanks in the eighth and then give everything you've got in the ninth.

"Once I was able to get through the seventh, I knew, 'Okay, here we go, we've got a real shot at this.'

"It's special and when you start talking about the history of the game, you can't really even think about that. That's why I'm speechless." -Max Scherzer on throwing two no-hitters in one season

"And then through the eighth I was able to get some strikeouts there and through the ninth, those are battles, those are really good hitters that they pinch hit with, with [Yoenis] Cespedes and [Lucas] Duda, they've given me troubles all year long, so to be able to get those first two guys out -- and then I know Granderson.

"He's a tough out. He's really done a great job against me throughout his whole career. We've faced each other a lot. And fortunately enough I was able to get him to pop up. That was special."

Just how special even Scherzer didn't know until after the outing, when he spoke to reporters. He was just the second pitcher since Nolan Ryan in 1973 to throw two no-hitters in a season and just the fifth pitcher to do so in MLB history.

He was the first of the five to avoid walking a single batter in his no-hitters. His seventeen Ks in the second tied Ryan's MLB record for the most strikeouts in a no-hitter.

"I'm speechless about that," he said when told about some of the history. "I don't know what to say."

"You go out there and try to have as much success as possible, you try to accomplish as much as you can, do everything you can.

"When you start talking about the fact that I was able to -- as a team, remember, I can't say 'I threw two no-hitters' or something like that. Remember my teammates are behind me making great plays as well. To have that happen twice in a season?

"It's special and when you start talking about the history of the game, you can't really even think about that. That's why I'm speechless. Something that you'll be able to soak in in the offseason and really begin to appreciate what that really means."

Scherzer finished the first year of the seven-year/$210M deal he signed with the Nationals last winter at a career high 6.4 fWAR, with a (14-12) record in 33 starts, a 2.79 ERA, a 2.77 FIP, 34 walks (1.34 BB/9) and 276 Ks (10.86 K/9) in 228 ⅔ innings over which he gave up 27 home runs (1.06 HR/9), 17 of them in 96 ⅔ IP in the second half (1.58 HR/9) after he'd given up 10 total in 132 innings in the first half (0.68 HR/9).

He said after his last start that he did, however, think he improved as a pitcher and would likely improve upon things again in 2016.

"I do think I was a better pitcher in 2015 than I was in '14," Scherzer said. "I feel like I'm able to do more things with the baseball and sequence guys different and I just feel like all my pitches are better, but I still have room for improvement.

"I gave up a bunch of home runs there in the second-half and that's something I've got to improve upon in 2016. So I definitely have some things to work on myself and that's what's exciting about baseball. You're always getting better. You're always finding new ways to do stuff and that's what's exciting for next year."