Washington Nationals’ ace Max Scherzer picked up his 300th strikeout of the season in the nation’s capital tonight, becoming just the 18th pitcher since 1900 and the fifth since 2000 to reach that milestone.
Scherzer passed his previous season-high in strikeouts last time out, when he K’d 13 of 28 batters faced in 5-4 loss to the New York Mets, leaving him with 290 in 2018, six more than the 284 he collected in 2016.
Scherzer told reporters after that start that he wasn’t too concerned with his own personal achievements as much as trying to help his team earn a win, though he acknowledged he was aware that he was approaching a strikeout milestone.
“I mean, you’re aware of it,” Scherzer said, “but that’s not why you go out there and pitch.
“You go out there to pitch and win,” he explained.
“I wanted to come in today and win a ballgame and unfortunately we lost. So you always think about the things that you weren’t able to do to help your team win, so for me those are milestones and I don’t pitch for those, I pitch to win.”
Reaching 300 Ks in a season, however, put the 34-year-old, 11-year veteran on a relatively short list of pitchers who’ve accomplished that feat.
Game 158 notes...300 is the number tonight. Max Scherzer has 290 strikeouts and needs 10 to reach 300. There have only been 66 300-K season in MLB history and 35 since 1900-the modern era.— Dave Jageler (@DaveJageler) September 25, 2018
Washington Senators’ great Walter Johnson reached 300 Ks twice in his illustrious career, with 313 strikeouts in 1910 and 303 in the 1912 campaign, though he appeared in 45 total games in 1910 and 48 games in 1912, with 370 and 369 IP, respectively, in those seasons.
Scherzer started the night with his 290 Ks in 32 starts and 213 2⁄3 IP and was up to 293 after two scoreless, then picked up his 294th in a scoreless third, and his 295th and 296th in the top of the fourth.
One more strikeout in the fifth got him to 297 and he picked up No. 298 with an 0-2 change that got J.T. Realmuto swinging in the top of the sixth.
Lewis Brinson swung through a 96 mph 1-2 fastball for K No. 9 of the night and No. 299 of the season, and Austin Dean got to a full count and fouled off a few before swinging over a filthy slider for No. 10 on the night and No. 300 of 2018.
For the first time in his career, Max Scherzer has struck out 300 batters. pic.twitter.com/2JUhJ8jfkG— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 26, 2018
300-strikeout seasons since 1990:— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) September 26, 2018
Randy Johnson (6)
Curt Schilling (3)
Pedro Martinez (2)
And now ... Max Scherzer
300 for Max. So freakin cool. Here’s the ball. pic.twitter.com/2Of26imJcg— Dan Kolko (@masnKolko) September 26, 2018