Max Scherzer was pitching against the Miami Marlins like he had somewhere to go after the game. He did, as he rushed to be with his wife who was going into labor as soon as that final strikeout was notched. The efficiency with which Scherzer pitched is one we are not accustomed to seeing, though we could get used to Mad Max completing what he started. As could the Nationals.
Scherzer is a high strikeout pitcher, and with mass strikeouts comes high volume of pitches. This was not the case in his most recent outing. Through six innings, and sixty pitches thrown, Scherzer had tallied just five strikeouts. He had allowed just three hits to that point as well, with one runner being erased on a double play ball.
Max Scherzer was very efficient in disposing of the Miami Marlins, something the Washington Nationals can get used to.
Coasting with a three run lead for the entire game, Scherzer took the mound in the ninth inning looking for a complete game shutout. He allowed a leadoff home run, before settling in to set down the side, finishing his work with 106 pitches.
This was Max’s first true complete game since the 2018 season. In the rain shortened season opener a year ago he was credited with a complete game even though the game was called after 5.1 innings. A complete game, yes, not of the traditional sense though.
While complete games are a facet of the game gone by the wayside, Scherzer wouldn’t stick around long enough to collect many anyways. His pitch counts are exceedingly high. Prior to his most recent outing, Max had eclipsed the 100 pitch total twice before on the season. One game he pitched seven innings, striking out ten. The other, six innings, striking out nine.
Being a strikeout pitcher is great, though it does run up the pitch count. In a day and age where teams have to protect their assets (Scherzer is making $34.5M this year), pitchers rarely go deep in games anymore if their pitch count is creeping to/past triple digits.
Scherzer handled the Marlins lineup with ease, though not all lineups are created equally. When play begin, the Fish had four players who were carrying averages of .000 for the year. Injuries have hampered Miami’s lineup and they were sending some inexperienced players up to take hacks against one of baseball’s best pitchers.
The Nationals would like to see Scherzer pitch more efficiently and go deeper into ballgames. With the bullpen assembled this year proving to be a strength in the early going, they will be just fine with the status quo. Max has thrown at least six innings in all but one of his starts thus far.
Well, you don’t mess with a three time Cy Young winner. At this point we are happy with the feat and continue to take whatever Scherzer gives us.