Max Scherzer took the mound tonight against Arizona in the nation’s capital in the midst of an impressive run over his last four turns in the rotation, with one run or fewer allowed in those outings, and a 0.67 ERA, five walks, 39 Ks, and a .198/.243/.277 line against in 27 IP in that stretch.
Asked what was going right for Scherzer in his recent appearances, second-year Nationals’ manager Davey Martinez said Washington’s ace has really been pretty good all season.
“He’s been pitching really well all year,” Martinez told reporters earlier this week.
“He’s just competing like he always does. I don’t see any difference of what he was doing in the beginning, but like I’ve said, he’s Max and he goes out there and competes.”
Scherzer hadn’t given up any home runs in the previous four starts, but he gave up two in five innings tonight, with D-backs’ catcher Carson Kelly hitting a 1-0 fastball up in the zone out to left in the third before Nick Ahmed hit a first-pitch heater out to left field to lead off the fifth, making it a 3-2 game in the Nationals’ favor at that point.
It was 5-2 after six, and Scherzer came back out in the seventh and threw a scoreless, 17-pitch frame which left him at 104 pitches total and ended his outing.
Max Scherzer’s Line: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 10 Ks, 2 HRs, 104 P, 73 S, 3/6 GO/FO.
Scherzer extended his unbeaten streak to five-straight starts with the win, and the two runs he allowed left him with a 1.06 ERA in 34 IP over that stretch.
With his 10 strikeouts tonight, Scherzer passed both Bob Feller (2,581) and Warren Spahn (2,583) on MLB’s all-time strikeout list, claiming the 27th spot with 2,585 total strikeouts.
Max Scherzer has passed TWO Hall of Famers in one start.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) June 15, 2019
With his 2,584th career K, Max has passed Warren Spahn on @MLB's All-Time Career Strikeout Leaderboard.
(He's now No. 27.)#Scherzday // #OnePursuit pic.twitter.com/ChNuT53ox3
Up next? Tom Glavine (2,607).
Scherzer’s take on moving up the list?
“Sweet,” he said. “Let’s keep going.”
What did his manager think of Scherzer passing pitchers like Feller and Spahn?
“You just watch him day in and day out when he’s out there, it’s almost — you get spoiled because you expect it every time he goes out,” Martinez said.
Does he appreciate in the moment what he’s seeing each time Scherzer takes the mound?
“I appreciate him every single day,” he said.
“Sometimes it ain’t easy and we have our discussions, but I enjoy it. I know he knows where I come from and I know where he comes from, so it’s good and it’s healthy.”
Asked again what’s been different for Scherzer the last few times out, Martinez reiterated that the Nationals’ ace has been solid all along.
“He’s been the same, yeah, he’s been the same. I mean you look at the games he’s pitched, he’s kept us in all the games. He’s just really good. That’s why he’s an ace.”