Washington Nationals: Max Scherzer pitches for history

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Jun 16, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) pitches during the first inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 16, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) pitches during the first inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports /
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Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer is not just trying to win back-to-back Cy Young’s, he is having a season for the ages.

After another dominant performance against the New York Mets, Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer is cruising for back-to-back Cy Young Awards.

Only once this year has he allowed over four earned runs, allowing the Mets to put a five-spot on him on April 28. Scherzer has struck out 134 of the 384 batters he has faced, league leading numbers. In his last five starts, he has posted double-digit strikeouts. His game scores those nights? Try 85, 84, 81, 71 and 78.

Yep, Scherzer owns the National League.

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On the off chance Scherzer maintains his 5.5 hits-per-9 ratio the rest of the season, it would be the sixth-lowest mark in MLB history and the best since Jake Arrieta’s 5.9 two years ago. Nolan Ryan beat 5.5 twice in the early 1990s and Pedro Martinez posted a 5.3 in 2000. Scherzer is that dominant.

His WHIP of 0.843 would be the 15th-best in the record book, better than any season by Clayton Kershaw, Tom Seaver, Sandy Koufax and Roger Clemens and a cast of thousands. These are the performances that earn you Most Valuable Player awards, let alone Cy Young’s.

When your ERA adjusts to 93 percent better than league average, you are in a zone. Scherzer is creating his. Hard to do on a staff featuring Stephen Strasburg and a resurgent Gio Gonzalez.

Repeating as NL Cy Young would put Scherzer in rarified air. Clayton Kershaw did it in 2013 and 2014. Randy Johnson and Greg Maddux both did it four years in a row. Koufax pulled it off before the award split into leagues.

Still, a potential three in five years—mixed with two leagues—puts you into Cooperstown territory. Although the days of 300 wins are over for now, only Kershaw and Felix Hernandez are higher on the active wins list that is younger. Scherzer seems a lock to win 200 if healthy.

The bullpen issues, Bryce Harper’s bat and Ryan Zimmerman’s comeback get more attention than Scherzer’s continued excellence. Some fans call his starts “Immaxulate Performances.” When you get stronger as the game goes along, it is a deserved title.

This year, Scherzer’s exceeded 100 pitches 11 times. Those hitting off him after pitch 101 carry a slash line of .091/.200/.227. Immaxulate—a coined word for sure—fits.

His performances fits his intensity. Not afraid to be hopelessly blunt with Mike Maddux and Dusty Baker when they visit—imagine what Matt Wieters hears—Scherzer stalks around after strikeouts like a cat hellbent on killing every mouse in a five-block area. One feeds the other.

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A throwback to the era of Bob Gibson and Don Drysdale—surly to a fault and as friendly as a gaggle of FBI agents—Scherzer is writing his own legendary story. Buy a bag of peanuts and enjoy.

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