To consider what Max Scherzer has done in his career, look at the names the Washington Nationals right-hander finds himself approaching, matching, and then passing. In Scherzer’s last start, a seven-inning, two-hit, and 10-strikeout performance Friday against the Arizona Diamondbacks, the 36-year-old gave Cy Young on the all-time strikeout list. And then, during a windyagainst the St. Louis Cardinals at , another Hall of Fame pitcher fell in Scherzer’s wake on Wednesday.
For all of the issues the Nationals have right now — from an injury-riddled and leaky pitching staff to Juan Soto’s strained shoulder — Scherzer has been a prominent bright spot, as he has throughout his seven seasons in Washington., Mike Mussina yielded his place to Scherzer, who became No. 21 all-time with 2,817 strikeouts by the end of his scoreless six innings. Scherzer gave up four hits, struck out nine, and walked just one batter, continuing his excellent start to the season.Scherzer has been a prominent bright spot f
Since giving up four soloin the first three innings of the season, Scherzer has allowed one run in his last 22 innings pitched. Over his previous three starts, Scherzer’s ERA is 0.47. He’s struck out 24 batters while walking four. He hasn’t given up a run in his last 17 innings on the mound.
Early in Wednesday’s game, that streak of scoreless innings was in jeopardy. Scherzer plunked St. Louis leadoff man Tommy Edman and loaded the bases with one out after anand walk. But Scherzer strutted toward the dugout two batters later, having struck out Dylan Carlson and Matt Carpenter.
Against Carlson, Scherzer won the seven-pitch at-bat by dipping into his wealth of pitches. Carlson fouled off a two-strike changeup and four-seam fastball before swinging through a cutter down and in on the switch hitter. Scherzer reached back to touch 96 mph with the fastball that captured Carpenter.
Scherzer danced around a leadoff single in the second with a strikeout, throw-out double play. But those two frames drove Scherzer’s pitch count to 49, complicating the remainder of his outing. He retired 12 of his final 13 batters, punching Carlson again to close his.
He left in line for the. Josh Bell reached to lead off the frame with an infield single, and Alex into the left-field corner to score Bell from first. That run gave Washington’s bullpen a slim lead to protect, and Tanner Rainey — who has struggled early this , including a two-run inning Tuesday night — pitched a scoreless seventh. His fastball velocity hovered around 95 miles per hour, and his slider helped him strike out three, working around a two-out
double. Daniel Hudson released a visible sigh of relief at the end of the eighth inning when he worked around a two-out bases-loaded jam to force an inning-ending flyout to right field. And then Brad Hand shut the door in the ninth, with a double play canceling a leadoff walk. Those contributions kept Scherzer’s win intact, ending the homestand at 4-3 despite plenty of concerns — includingstints. But Scherzer has been a constant all season, and he produced again when needed.