Washington Nationals: Grading the starting rotation so far
By Blake Finney
Max Scherzer doing Max Scherzer things
Max Scherzer is the teacher’s pet of this Washington Nationals rotation, but you probably knew that much already. This year, he could be better than ever, as he remains the Cy Young favorite while working his way into the MVP discussion.
When you check the league leaders in pitching stats, you see Scherzer’s name appearing all over the page. He’s the MLB leader in strikeouts with 91, wins with seven, and is fourth in ERA among qualifying pitchers with 1.69.
Scherzer arguably in the most dominant stretch of his entire career right now, despite being due to turn 34 this July. The Nats ace is on pace to set career highs in several different pitching categories, and for a three-time Cy Young Award winner, that takes some doing.
There’s no reason to believe he can’t continue this torrid pace when you dig into the peripheral stats. First off, his FIP is only a few ticks higher than his ERA, at just 1.75, usually a good measure of whether a pitcher’s form is sustainable.
This is mainly down to him limiting the home runs given up, a particular weakness for him in his first few years in DC. Before this season, he was giving up 1.1 HR/9 with the Nationals. However, this year he’s lowered that to just 0.6, preventing huge damage in any given inning.
He’s been doing even better than Nats fans had hoped, if that was even possible, and his grade reflects this. A+