Nationals: Takeaways from Max Scherzer’s 20 Strikeout Performance
Go Take a Walk, Detroit
Max Scherzer threw 119 pitches against the Tigers Wednesday, including a staggering 96 strikes (81 percent). If my math is correct, then it would follow that Max missed the strike zone only 23 times throughout the entire contest: the lowest number of balls ever thrown in a 20 strikeout game. As catcher Wilson Ramos puts it, he was simply untouchable.
"“The aggressiveness he showed out there on the mound, he kept attacking the zone despite the Tigers having a very impressive offensive lineup. He just kept attacking, and that’s what made him so good tonight.” (h/t Mark Zuckerman, MASNSports.com)"
Scherzer did not issue a single walk while allowing only two hitters to draw three-ball counts. Avoiding free passes seems to be a trend amongst the 20 strikeout club, as all three of his predecessors managed to avoid walking anybody as well.
According to Brooks Baseball, the Nats’ ace most effective pitch was his changeup. The off-speed pitch induced swings-and-misses 39 percent of the time, the highest total of any of the pitches he threw more than five times. He relied the most on his fastball (62 thrown), and for very good reason: 82 percent of the fastballs he threw resulted in strikes.
Scherzer is not known as a walk-prone pitcher. Entering Wednesday’s game, he ranked 33rd in all of baseball with a 2.61 BB/9 among 73 qualified players with at least 1,000 innings pitched since he entered the league in 2008. He sported a 3.14 BB/9 on the current season prior to the game, his highest mark since 2010. With yesterday’s performance, however, that number dropped to 2.60.
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