On the way to throwing six scoreless innings this afternoon, Max Scherzer also managed to pass Mike Mussina to take the 21st spot on MLB’s All-Time strikeout leaderboard, finishing a strong outing against the St. Louis Cardinals with nine Ks in the game and 2,817 Ks so far in his career.
Josh Bell singled to start the Washington Nationals’ half of the second, and scored on a two-out double by Alex Avila for the only run scored by either team. 1-0 final in Nationals Park.
As noted by @NationalsPR on the Twitters — Max Scherzer’s last three starts:
- 0.47 ERA (1 ER/19.0 IP)
- 24 strikeouts / four walks
- .138 opponents’ batting average (9-for-65)
- 17.0 consecutive scoreless innings dating to the third inning on April 11 at Los Angeles…It is the third-longest active streak in Major League Baseball.
Scherzer vs St. Louis: After giving up five hits and four runs (all of them on solo home runs) over six innings of work in his 2021 debut, Max Scherzer gave up just one run on five hits in 13 IP in his second and third outings.
Max Scherzer, 95mph Fastball (foul) and 91mph Dead Zone Cutter (swinging K), Overlay pic.twitter.com/IDki8NBxZV— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 21, 2021
“He looks like he’s got command of every pitch. His body is very much under control. And he looked good,” Davey Martinez said after Scherzer faced the Arizona Diamondbacks this past weekend.
Going up against the Cardinals this afternoon in the series finale with St. Louis in D.C., the Nationals’ ace ran into some early trouble with a hit-by-pitch, a one-out infield single and a walk loading the bases in the top of the first, but swinging Ks from Dylan Carlson and Matt Carpenter got the Nationals’ starter through a scoreless, 26-pitch frame.
Scherzer settled in after the interesting first, and retired seven straight between the second and fourth, completing four scoreless on 77 pitches.
A 1-2-3 fifth had Scherzer up to ten in a row retired and 86 pitches, and he was at 12 in a row before Paul DeJong singled to center with two out in the top of the sixth, but the Nationals’ ace stranded the first runner to reach base since the second when he struck Dylan Carlson out on his 109th overall pitch.
Max Scherzer’s Line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 Ks, 109 P, 71 S, 1/3 GO/FO.
Martínez vs D.C.: Carlos Martínez, 29, was off to a rough start in his ninth major league run, with a 7.80 ERA, 4.69 FIP, and a .274/.338/.435 line against in three starts and 15 IP before today.
All five hits and all six runs he gave up last time out, on the road against the Phillies, came in a rough second inning in which the home team batted around and had things go their way that were beyond Martínez’s control, according to his manager.
“It wasn’t like he was all over the place,” Cards’ skipper Mike Shildt said, as quoted on MLB.com.
“He just didn’t make an ideal pitch to the pitcher and a couple of balls fell. It’s not so much what Carlos didn’t do tonight, as much as it just didn’t go his way. What can you do?”
Start No. 4 for the right-hander began with a quick, 10-pitch first, but Josh Bell singled to start the second and scored two outs later on an RBI double to left-center off Alex Avila’s bat, 1-0.
Martínez held the Nationals there through six, giving up just four hits, a walk, and the one earned run in a 91-pitch effort head-to-head with Max Scherzer.
Carlos Martínez’s Line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 Ks, 91 P, 62 S, 8/4 GO/FO.
Mike Mussina, You’re Next: It’s not as exciting as passing Cy Young on the all-time strikeout leaderboard, but Max Scherzer started today’s game with 2,808 Ks, five shy of Hall of Famer Mike Mussina (2,813) for No. 21 on the list.
Scherzer picked up his first in a big spot, with the bases loaded and one out in the top of the first, and No. 2 came in the next at bat as he escaped an early jam. Andrew Knizner’s swinging K in the second, on a strike-em-out, throw-em out DP, was No. 2,811, and Paul Goldschmidt went down looking at a 2-2 slider for out No. 1 in the 3rd and K No. 4 of the game for Scherzer (2,812).
Paul DeJong took a 93 MPH 1-2 heater for out No. 3 of the Cards’ third and K No. 2,813. Sorry about that, Mike. You’re about to be No. 22. Scherzer picked up No. 2,814 on a foul tip strike three on a curve to Justin Williams. No. 21 is all yours, Max. He ended the day with nine Ks in all, for 2,817 in his career.
Bullpen Action: Tanner Rainey came on with a 1-0 lead in the top of the seventh and worked a scoreless, 13-pitch frame.
Ryan Helsley tossed a scoreless bottom of the seventh for the Cardinals.
Daniel Hudson got the top of the eighth for the Nats, and gave up a two-out walk to Nolan Arenado, and a single to center field by Paul DeJong which gave the Cards runners on the corners.
Dylan Carlson stepped in next and walked to load the bases for Matt Carpenter, who sent a fly to right to end the threat. Phew. Still 1-0 Nationals.
Alex Reyes worked around a two-out walk for a scoreless bottom of the eighth.
Brad Hand came on in the save situation and walked the first batter he faced, putting Justin Williamson to start the frame, but a 6-4-3 DP off Andrew Knizner’s bat followed, and a Yadier Molina fly to right ended the frame. Ballgame.
Final Score: 1-0 Nationals
Nationals now 7-9