Max Scherzer celebrates 20-K anniversary with even more impressive nine-inning stretch

Jack BaerYahoo Sports Contributor

How did you celebrate the two-year anniversary of Max Scherzer’s 20-strikeout game? Scherzer celebrated it by striking out an ungodly amount of batters again. At least, he started that way.

Max Scherzer strikes out 22 in nine innings

Exactly two years after becoming the third MLB player to strike out 20 players in a nine-inning game, Max Scherzer put the finishing touches on a stretch of nine innings with even more strikeouts.

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Facing the D-backs, the team that drafted him in 2006 and brought him up to the majors, Scherzer opened Friday’s game by striking out nine batters in the first four innings. He eventually calmed down and finished with 11 strikeouts in seven innings, but he had already done something quite significant as far as strikeouts go.

In addition to those nine strikeouts in the first four innings for Friday’s start, Scherzer finished with 13 strikeouts in his last five innings against the Phillies on Sunday. That gives him 22 strikeouts in a nine-inning span. If you want to get even more specific, the math actually works out that he had 23 strikeouts in a 27-out span, going from his second out on Sunday to the end of the third inning on Friday.

Now, obviously, this all comes with a big grain of salt as it’s much easier to rack up strikeouts when you get a four-day long break in the middle. But still, doing something like that two years to the date after entering the 20-K club, it’s uncanny that the 33-year-old Scherzer still finds ways to do stuff like this.

What other stats is Max Scherzer racking up?

By reaching double-digit strikeouts again, Scherzer tied a name you might have heard of.

There is so much more fun to be had in the world of Max Scherzer stats, so let’s just go through a few interesting ones.

For starters, Scherzer currently leads the National League in FIP, WHIP, strikeout rate, innings pitched and wins (if you’re into that). He’s currently at 13.94 K/9, which is on pace for the highest recorded mark in MLB history. Since joining the Nationals in 2015, he leads all of baseball in 10-strikeout games with 44. Through nine starts this season, his season-high in earned runs is two and his season-low in strikeouts is seven. Per’s Andrew Simon, he also leads all pitchers in hits since 2016 with 29, including two on Friday.

It’s still early in the season and a drop-off is fairly likely, but for now, this is a pitcher coming off back-to-back Cy Young Awards and somehow operating at yet another level.

Max Scherzer is pitching like he wants a third straight Cy Young award. (AP Photo)
Max Scherzer is pitching like he wants a third straight Cy Young award. (AP Photo)

How does Scherzer rack up strikeouts like this?

By being able to do stuff like what he did to Paul Goldschmidt:

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