Max Scherzer is going to be the Opening Day starter in Cincinnati, OH when the Washington Nationals begin the 2018 campaign on the road against the Reds in Great American Ball Park. New Nats’ skipper Dave Martinez made the announcement this morning, though he noted, as quoted by ESPN.com’s Eddie Matz, that he made the decision, “... the day I got the job.”
Scherzer went (16-6) in 32 starts in 2017, posting a 2.51 ERA, 2.90 FIP, 55 walks (2.47 BB/9), 268 Ks (12.02 K/9), and a .177/.247/.319 line against in 200 2⁄3 IP, leading all NL pitchers in total Ks, and becoming just the fourth pitcher in MLB history to reach 250+ strikeouts in four straight seasons, joining a short list of pitchers who’ve accomplished that feat which includes just three others: Randy Johnson - 1997-2002; Ferguson Jenkins - 1968-71; and Pedro Martinez - 1997-2000.
Scherzer was still dealing with injury issues last Spring and was a little behind schedule, so the Nationals went with Stephen Strasburg on Opening Day, giving the ‘09 No. 1 pick his fourth Opening Day nod in six seasons after Scherzer had started the opener in 2015 and ‘16.
Scherzer hasn’t yet commented on getting the nod this time around, but he told reporters in 2016 that it was an honor to start the opener.
“It’s a really cool thing to be an Opening Day starter, because the Opening Day is kind of a celebration of baseball, it’s a kickstart to the year, so to be a part of that and to be on the mound for Game 1, it’s really cool,” he said.
Scherzer’s third Opening Day nod leaves him second in franchise history in Opening Day starts behind both Strasburg (4) and Livan Hernandez (4).
#Nats rotation order to open the season, per Davey Martinez ...— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) March 19, 2018