May 16, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) pitches during the first inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Who: No. 31, Max Scherzer
The Numbers: 9 GS, 64.2 IP, 8 QS, 5-3, 1.67 ERA, 0.881 WHIP, 2.03 FIP, 72 SO, 9 BB, 3 HR, 2.5 WAR
Best Performance: 04/17 vs PHI → Win, 8.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R (ER), 0 BB, 9 SO, 100 pitches
Rankings*: ERA (4th), WHIP (2nd), wins (T-6th), IP (4th), SO (3rd), BB (4th), QS (T-3rd), WAR (T-2nd)
The Story: The $210 million dollar man has put himself right into the middle of the conversation for the NL Cy Young Award with his consistent, dominant performances game after game. He has gone at least seven innings in eight of his nine starts. Plus, he has carried a pitching staff that has struggled over the first quarter of the season. Before the season began, critics questioned whether the Nationals had too much starting pitching. Now it is evident just how valuable Scherzer has been.
With Scherzer’s contributions, the Nationals own the seventh best rotation ERA in the National League at 3.97. Taking Mad Max’s numbers out, things turn ugly. The Nats’ ERA skyrockets to 4.72, which would be the third worst mark in the NL. Between Stephen Strasburg’s major struggles, Jordan Zimmermann’s slow start, and Doug Fister & Gio Gonzalez’s battles for consistency, Max Scherzer has been the rock this team needed to stay afloat. Thanks to the other two members of the Big Three, this team has been able to accomplish even more than that.
*Among qualified National League pitchers
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