A team is only as good as the next day’s starting pitcher. If that pitcher is Max Scherzer, you’d expect to do pretty well. Unless it’s the 2020 season. Scherzer made twelve starts a year ago and finished with a 3.74 ERA (3.46 FIP). If this were most other pitchers, you’d be licking your chops at these numbers. However, this was the highest ERA Scherzer had posted since 2012. Coincidentally that was the last season Mad Max didn’t make the All-Star team (there was no AS game in 2020).
One reason for the inflated ERA is the number of baserunners Scherzer allowed. His WHIP of 1.38 was a career high, boosted by the 3.1 BB/9, highest he’s allowed in ten years. He also allowed 1.3 HR/9, matching a career high.
Coming off an extended 2019 season and battling some injuries along the way, Scherzer showed some signs of breaking down. For the Nationals to have a chance this year, they will need the 36 year old to get back to his normal self. Scherzer is in the final year of his contract, and players seem to pull it together when they are in a walk year.
Prior to last year Scherzer had a run of seven years collecting a Cy Young vote. We need him to find that form again.