In a season of disappointment for the Washington Nationals as a team, Max Scherzer was still able to make history by joining the 300 strikeout club.
Max Scherzer is baseball’s first $210 million bargain for the Washington Nationals. He added the latest chapter to his legacy, that will likely lead to Cooperstown, by notching a 300 strikeout season.
He started his 33rd game of the season just 10 punchouts away from the historic milestone. For most pitchers, that would be a tall order in one start, but with Scherzer, it hardly felt in doubt coming into it. After all, he had 17 10+ strikeout games already this year.
He took the mound for the seventh inning with eight Ks to his name and struck out Lewis Brinson to leadoff the inning. That left him on the verge of 300 against Austin Dean, and the rest, as they say, is history.
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Max Scherzer is the 17th member of the 300 strikeout club since 1900 and just the sixth pitcher to accomplish the feat since 1990. Not bad for someone who MLB execs voted as the worst free agent signing during the 2015 offseason.
It’s another feather in his Hall of Fame cap, and may not even be a question about whether he gets into Cooperstown at the moment with the compelling case he has. Nationals fans can consider themselves lucky to watch this pitching artist go to work every fifth day, and moments like this are the cherry on top.
Rendon a man on a mission
Right now, you can’t stop Anthony Rendon, you can only hope to contain him. Even then, that’s a tough ask of late. The silent assassin flexed his baseball muscles again with another stellar September showing that has him gaining serious MVP vote talk.
On Tuesday, the third baseman went 2 for 4 with another trademark double as well as a three-run home run. That tallied four more RBIs to bring his season total all the way up to 91 and gives him a shot at matching Bryce Harper with a 100 RBI season.
Entering the night, according to FanGraphs, Rendon trailed only Christian Yelich among NL position players in WAR. Though someone like Yelich or Javier Baez will likely come out on top, Rendon deserves to be comfortably inside the top five in the final voting at the end of the year.
Long ball bugaboo strikes Williams yet again
Late on, manager Davey Martinez tried to get some of his ailing relievers some low-pressure work. However, Austen Williams continues to struggle with the home run ball, as he gave up yet another on Tuesday night.
The two-run shot that he surrendered in the top of the eighth inning was the fifth he’s given up in just 9.1 innings. It’s a bizarre development for someone who had not given up a home run in the minors this year, and never had a HR/9 above 1.0 over a full minor league season, including when he was a lackluster starter.
When working as a reliever in the minor leagues this year, Williams noted how he was attacking hitters a lot more and trusting his stuff. Perhaps he’s doing it a little too much at the major league level, where more advanced hitters will take advantage. Hopefully, with a bit of correction at Triple-A next season, he should be able tos ecure a bullpen role at some point in his career.
The Washington Nationals wrap up their series with the Miami Marlins on Wednesday. Rookie Kyle McGowin makes his first major league start against Wei-Yin Chen as the Nats look to secure at least a .500 season.