Last night, Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer recorded his 150th career victory as the Nats downed the Orioles in Camden Yards, 2-0. It was a prototypical Scherzer start as he recorded 12 strikeouts across 8 innings of work only allowing a pair of hits and a lone walk to pick up his 9th win of the season and lower his era to 1.92.
I’m not sure if everyone realizes just how good Mad Max has been through the course of his career, but this is a guy who has dominated in each league taking it by storm and striking out the competition. Scherzer is a back-to-back Cy Young Award winner with 3 total dating back to his days with Detroit. Scherzer also leads the league in strikeouts this season already amassing 120 K’s through his first 12 starts and has recorded double-digits whiffs in 8 of those 12 starts this season. A large reason behind his 9-1 record and a staggering 0.854 WHIP that’s almost unheard of from a starting pitcher this deep into a campaign.
Just a few short years ago, this very pitcher was on the market and free to sign with any team. Scherzer waited out late in the process as Scott Boras played it smart and got his client a 7-year deal worth $210 million total, but the way the National broke it down on there books, got a steal with deferred payments and bonuses to be paid out over the life of the agreement. He’s also out-performed the lucrative contract handed out to him unlike other $30-plus million pitchers to sign record deals (*cough David Price cough*). Half of Scherzer’s current deal is deferred and he will be on their books through the 2028 season, a price they were happy to pay with this type of performance every fifth day. Now Scherzer has 150 wins in the bank with two straight Cy Young Awards, on his way to three in a row and is the Nolan Ryan/Roger Clemens of this generation.
Max is a leader in the clubhouse and has been a huge reason for the Nats success in recent years getting to the postseason year-after-year, but this season may prove to be their last real chance to win it all while Bryce Harper is still under contract with the ball-club. It’s why Dave Martinez was brought in to manage and win now, and with Stephen Strasburg, the rest of that rotation and a healthy Daniel Murphy and Adam Eaton, the Nats are one scary adversary. Never mind opposing hitters standing in the box against the filthy stuff from Scherzer and his two different colored eyes.
For my money, Scherzer is the best pitcher in the game. I’ve said it for years, and I will continue to utter it. I was visibly upset when the Red Sox chose to put the money that could’ve went towards Scherzer to Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval, neither of whom still play for Boston. On that point, it’s still astonishing to me that those Detroit Tigers teams never were able to win the World Series under Dave Dombrowski. We are talking about a rotation loaded with Justin Verlander, David Price, Rick Porcello, Doug Fister and of course Scherzer as the ace with Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and Price Fielder in the middle of the order. That damn bullpen.
I know he’s currently feasting in the National League, but Scherzer showed the same success across both leagues, DH or no DH and in the era of the launch angle and home runs galore, he’s kept the ball in the park and sent opposing hitters back to the dugout with their bats on their shoulder, or broken over their knee with displeasure. Scherzer is on his way to his fourth Cy Young Award and 250-300 wins isn’t out of the question for the 33-year-old. Just want to make sure everyone is aware and appreciates the domination from the future Hall of Famer every fifth day.
Follow Frank Pimentel on Twitter: @FrankBostonTank