Washington Nationals: Max Scherzer climbs strikeout ladder, exhibits downside
He reached double-digit strikeouts once again, though Max Scherzer failed to get out of the sixth inning because his pitch count was too high.
With his latest pitching performance, Max Scherzer passed Sandy Koufax on the list of games with ten or more strikeouts.
In 98 of his career 366 starts Scherzer has struck out ten or more hitters. In 11 of his career 366 he has pitched a complete game. Since joining the Washington Nationals beginning in the 2015 season, Scherzer has made 168 starts. In 53% of them he has pitched seven innings or more. In 72% of them he has thrown 100 or more pitches.
Sixty-seven times over the past six years, Scherzer has had a pitch count of 90 or more after six innings and not gone back to the mound.
With his strikeouts, come increased pitch counts. In this day and age Scherzer is an anomaly. Not many starting pitchers are allowed to run their pitch count as high as he is.
On Sunday, Scherzer was at 100 pitches through five innings. The bullpen, who only had to put in two innings with one guy working the night before, was pretty rested. I don’t fault manager Davey Martinez for running Scherzer out for the sixth, though.
Scherzer had ten strikeouts through five innings, moving him into fifth place on the all-time games with double-digit strikeouts list. The Nationals also held a two run lead and were hoping to minimize the amount of innings the bullpen would have to throw, as they have been collectively unstable this year.
After laboring through an eight pitch at-bat to get Dansby Swanson to fly out for the first out of the inning, Scherzer would give up hits to the next four batters. Unfortunately, two of those hits left the park and a 4-2 lead was soon a 6-4 deficit.
Scherzer would end the day with ten strikeouts, 119 pitches, and the team would have a loss.
The strikeouts are great. Scherzer controls the game and less batted balls means less chances for errors in the field.
Strikeouts also mean more pitches, and less chance Scherzer pitches deep into games. Kudos on continuing to climb the list of double-digit strikeouts, though I’m not so sure I wouldn’t rather have him strikeout less hitters and stay around longer in the games.